JIM MORPHESIS: Wounds of Existence

Since the 1980s, Jim Morphesis has been one of the most influential members of the expressionist art movement in Los Angeles. Taking its title from what Friedrich Nietzsche called “The Eternal Wounds of Existence,” JIM MORPHESIS: Wounds of Existence examines an impressive oeuvre that has captured the profound predicaments of human life. Morphesis most often works serially, on imagery and themes as varied as the Passion of the Christ (influenced by his Greek Orthodox upbringing), nude torsos (inspired by Rembrandt and Soutine) and universal symbols of mortality, including skulls and roses. His paintings of the Passion are grounded in art history, sharing aspects with Diego Velázquez’s Christ on the Cross and Giovanni Bellini’s Pieta, but are made undeniably modern by his sensuous, textured surfaces. For the past four decades, his paintings have communicated a deep, universal concern with the dehumanization of society throughout history.

JIM MORPHESIS: Wounds of Existence is organized by the Pasadena Museum of California Art, curated by Peter Selz, Ph.D., and accompanied by a brochure.

For their assistance with this project, the artist and curator thank Jay Belloli, Howard N. Fox, Brent Giddens, Doris Peckner, Roxene Rockwell, and David S. Rubin. This exhibition is made possible in part by the Pasadena Arts and Culture Commission and the City of Pasadena Cultural Affairs Division.