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New Accession Highlight—Wood Collage: Landscape

There is a rotating selection of new acquisitions in the back Rowland Gallery, and we’re highlighting each in turn digitally before encouraging you to check out the exhibit in person via (free) appointment. Today we’re highlighting Wood Collage: Landscape, by George Morrison.

George Morrison woodblock art piece

George Morrison, American, Grand Portage Ojibwe, 1919–2000, Wood Collage: Landscape, 1980, found and prepared wood on plywood base, 14 x 106 in. overall, bequest of Barbara Mackey Kaerwer, 2017.14.53

One of the fathers of Native American modernism, George Morrison was an influential teacher and mentor. His work embodies the central role of the land in Native American identity, both in the imagery of the Lake Superior landscape and in the use of driftwood to create wood collages.

In this work, a horizon line is discernible one quarter of the height from the upper edge, “to further identify it to landscape” according to the artist. This work was commissioned by the donor for her home in Eden Prairie, Minnesota. Morrison, writing about the challenges of creating a work of unusually long and narrow dimensions, pointed out that the shape “emphasized the feeling of broad and wide landscape.

The mosaic-like shapes are in keeping with selections I always use to suggest organic and structural forms in nature.” Trained as a painter, Morrison explained that he constructed this abstract landscape “with broad sweeps of dark or light color and small dabs of light and dark clusters of ‘detail.’ I am conscious of continuity and movement.”