Jim Morphesis

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James “Jim” Morphesis (born 1948)[1][2] is an American painter born to Greek American, parents in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.[1][3] He won the Young Talent Award from the Los Angeles County Museum of Art in Los Angeles, California, in 1983.


Jim Morphesis, received a Bachelor of Fine Arts degree (BFA) from the Tyler School of Art of Temple University in 1970 and earned his Master of Fine Arts (MFA) from the California Institute of the Arts in 1972.[1][4] “In art school and immediately after, he made Minimalist work occasionally employing a crucifix form.”[4] Art critic, Peter Clothier described the nature of Jim Morphesis’s early paintings: ”His early work was characterized by its brooding, dramatic strength, its juxtaposition of structural formality with expressive intensity, its crusty, abstract surfaces which always seemed to reveal less than they concealed.[5]

In 2012, Michael Duncan, independent art curator and critic wrote,“Morphesis’s breakthrough actually came at the end of the 1970s with his use of more overt religious and figurative imagery.”[4] “Later, bodies of the 1980s work became more sculptural, with crucifix forms used as central structures of layered reliefs.”[4]

Art historian and curator, Peter Selz, PhD stated: “Since the 1980s, Jim Morphesis has been one of the most influential members of the expressionist art movement in Los Angeles”[6] “As strong examples of Los Angeles Neo-Expressionism, Morphesis’ s works of the 1980s rank alongside those of Carlos Almaraz, David Amico, Gronk, Roger Herman, Margaret Nielson, and Joyce Trieman. Like those artists, Morphesis has used painting as a vehicle for dramatic personal statements.[4] Morphesis has had over 42 solo exhibitions and is in numerous museum collections including the Los Angeles County Museum of Art,[7] San Francisco Museum of Modern Art,[8] Oakland Museum of California Art, Metropolitan Museum of Art, Orange County Museum of Art, Newport Beach, CA, Phoenix Art Museum, Portland Art Museum, Portland, Oregon,[9] Museum of Contemporary Religious Art, St. Louis, Missouri,[10] Museum of Contemporary Art San Diego, and the San Antonio Museum of Art.[11]


  • City of Pasadena Arts and Culture III Grant, with Pasadena Museum of California Art[6]
  • First Prize for Works on Paper, Florence International Biennial of Contemporary Art, Florence, Italy, 2003[12]
  • Louis Comfort Tiffany Foundation Biennial Award for Painting and Sculpture, New York, NY, 1985[13]
  • Young Talent Award, Los Angeles County Museum of Art, (LACMA), Los Angeles,CA, 1983[1]
  • California Small Images Exhibition Purchase Award, California State University, Los Angeles, CA, 1971
  • Nathan Margolis Memorial Award for Painting, Tyler School of Art of Temple University, Philadelphia, PA, 1970

Personal life[edit]

Jim Morphesis currently resides and works in Los Angeles, California.[3]


  1. ^ a b c d "Los Angeles County Museum of Art" (PDF). LACMA Young Talent Awards.
  2. ^ Kienholz, Lyn (2010). L.A. Rising : SoCal Artists before 1980. Los Angeles, Calif.: California/International Arts Foundation. p. 324. ISBN 0917571134.
  3. ^ a b "Jim Morphesis - Image Journal". Image Journal.
  4. ^ a b c d e Duncan, Michael (2012). L.A. Raw : Abject Expressionism in Los Angeles, 1945-1980, from Rico Lebrun to Paul McCarthy. Santa Monica: Foggy Notion Books. pp. 178–181. ISBN 0983587027.
  5. ^ Clothier, Peter (Summer 1982). "Jim Morphesis at Traction Gallery". Art in America (Summer 1982): 149.
  6. ^ a b "JIM MORPHESIS: Wounds of Existence". Pasadena Museum of California Art. 5 December 2014.
  7. ^ "Jim Morphesis". LACMA Collections. Retrieved December 3, 2017.
  8. ^ "Jim Morphesis". SFMOMA. Retrieved December 3, 2017.
  9. ^ "Jim Morphesis". portlandartmuseum.us. December 24, 1999. Retrieved December 3, 2017.
  10. ^ "MOCRA Artist : Saint Louis University MOCRA : SLU". Home. Retrieved December 3, 2017.
  11. ^ Art, San Antonio Museum of (January 4, 2013). "Event Detail". San Antonio Museum of Art. Retrieved December 3, 2017.
  12. ^ "Awarded Artists 2003". Florence Biennale. July 11, 2013. Retrieved December 3, 2017.
  13. ^ "Louis Comfort Tiffany Awards". The Louis Comfort Tiffany Foundation. Retrieved December 3, 2017.

External links[edit]