B. DES MOINES, IOWA, 1918
D. SOUTHAMPTON, NEW YORK, 1979
Kyle Morris (b. 1918, Des Moines, Iowa, d. 1979, Southampton, NY) exercised his interest in abstraction throughout his career as an adept painter as well as art historian. After serving in the Air Force during WWII, armed with a BA and MFA from Northwestern University and an MFA from Cranbrook Academy of Art, Morris took a studio on Mercer Street in downtown Manhattan in the 1950s. Moving away from the figurative painting of his formal training, he began to make the work that would come to define his reputation. His first major solo exhibition at the Walker Art Center in 1952, displaying his masterful use of independent, vigorous color strokes, gave way to steady exhibitions at the Stable and Kootz galleries in New York. In 1961, Morris was included in the Guggenheim’s landmark exhibition, “American Abstract Expressionists and Imagists,” which provided a snapshot of the state contemporary of abstract painting in America. Whether his painting employed the expressionist styles of the New York School or the sparser, non-referential use of color and line that characterized the minimalist abstraction of the 70’s, Morris produced canvas that exist comfortably within the canon while maintaining individual formal expressions.