Thomas Morphis

This series of paintings emerged from the desire to incorporate recognizable subject matter, specifically the human figure, into my life-long practice of making abstract art. Although figurative art and abstract art are generally seen as polar opposites, I merge the two by breaking up figure drawings and creating abstract compositions from the fragments. Viewed from a distance, the paintings are solidly abstract: a simple pattern stands out within a loose grid structure of columns and rows. A more intimate, close-up view reveals parts of the body or contour lines which, drawn from life, have an organic vitality. Glimpses of faces, hands, etc. add warmth and the comfort of recognizing something familiar. The nude figure is less confrontational because it is fractured into smaller pieces, yet it is there, whether consciously recognized or not.

I also strive to create images which are at the same time both simple and complex. At first glance each painting presents a simple, clear abstract composition of stability and balance. Within each painting, however, is a complex variety of colors, textures and figurative elements. And while all the paintings in this series share the simple concept of the grid structure, there is endless variation in the types of patterns that can emerge.

Abstraction vs. representation, explicit vs. obscured, simplicity vs. complexity. The answer to these apparent polarities is positive and optimistic: “Yes, all of the above.”


For more information about the artist, please visit his website.