Dramatic, compelling, powerful and passionate; these are words often used to describe the work of well-known artist Jim Morphesis.
Morphesis made his reputation from his intense paintings of the male torso, derived from the image of the crucifixion, an omnipresent element in his art to this day. The artist was raised Greek Orthodox and often attended church with his grandmother.
"As a child, one of the earliest and most impressive images that I can recall was this painting above the altar, of this guy, brave and vulnerable, nailed to a piece of wood. The interior [of the church] was decorated in a traditional Byzantine style, filled with icons and other really unusual paintings, so it was opulent and very lush, " remembers Morphesis.
The influence is evident, as his work has been described as that of a cross between ancient Greek sculpture and Orthodox Byzantine decoration – producing a kind of powerful "California Raphael."
Morphesis’ expressionistic figurations deal primarily with the heroic and tragic figures found in Scripture and classical mythology. With a tendency to repeat the same physical stance of his torso subject matter, his work has preserved its strong emotional intensity yet continues to evolve. Through the years, the spiritual theme of Morphesis’ work has remained, although changing stylistically. The work has ranged from precise rendering to a more physical, gestured approach.
The paintings, varying in size, have utilized colors ranging from earthly to brilliant.
When asked what it is that motivates him, Morphesis replies, "Passion." The emotion is clearly evident in the work, as his art is sure to strike a cord with all who see it.
Morphesis has been seen in more than 30 one-man exhibitions since 1972, and his work can be seen in numerous museum and corporate collections. Some of these include, The Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York; Los Angeles County Museum of Art, The San Francisco Museum of Modern Art; Bloom, Hergott, Cook, Diemer & Klein, and Bank of America.
PRICE RANGE $5,000 TO $7,000