PUBLICATIONS / MORRIS GRAVES: VISION OF THE INNER EYE
Morris Graves: Vision of the Inner Eye
Ray Kass; introduction by Theodore F. Wolff, Braziller, NY, in association with the Phillips Collection, Washington, D.C., 1983
Growing up in the Pacific Northwest, Morris Graves (1910-2001) always stepped to the tune of a different drummer. As a sickly child with a love for flowers, he spent hours designing rock gardens in his mind and later, as a young proto- hippie, he dropped out of high school to embark for the Orient by ship. ''In Japan I at once had the feeling that this was the right way to do everything,'' he later said, and his feeling for Asian religion and philosophy has always imbued his work. Closely allied with the visionary, Asian-influenced group of Northwest artists led by the late Mark Tobey, Graves has produced a mystical art in which spiritual states are expressed by elemental symbols - birds, flowers, pine trees, the sea - as well as by Buddhist motifs.
We get a bird's-eye view of his very productive career in ''Morris Graves: Vision of the Inner Eye," a collection of more than 100 paintings - mostly in the tricky medium of tempera on paper - sculptures and drawings from the mid-1930's to the present (as of the date of this publication).
(Published in conjunction with the exhibition held in Washington, D.C., April 9 – May 29, 1983)
Birds are, of course, the dominant theme in this large body of work; birds of every breed, including some that never were. But though the birds are real birds drawn with a nice exactitude - Graves is a marvelous draftsman, well grounded in observation of nature; even his fantastical birds seem ornithologically respectable - we are meant to regard them as something other than fowl studies. They are metaphors for the human spirit and its various stages of cosmic awareness; Graves views art as a means of guiding humankind from ''partial to full consciousness.''
—The New York Times
Glueck, Grace. "Art: Whitney Presents a Graves Retrospective" The New York Times, September 16, 1983