Copyright Michael Morris, 2013, used with permission

Copyright Michael Morris, 2013, used with permission

Michael Morris is a painter, photographer, video and performance artist and curator. His work is often media based and collaborative, involved with developing networks and in the production and presentation of new art activity. He was born in Saitdean, Sussex, England in 1942.  He immigrated to Canada with his mother at the age of four and settled on Vancouver Island. Morris had an early start in art making activities, and he worked with Expressionist artists Herbert Siebner and Maxwell Bates in the early 1960s, as well as collaborating with film-maker Karl Spreitz on a number of projects.

In the 1960s he studied at the University of Victoria and then at the Vancouver School of Art (now Emily Carr University of Art + Design), followed by graduate studies at Slade School of Fine Art at the University College London.  There he became interested in the work of Fluxus and the European avant-garde, which had a profound influence on his work and on the Vancouver experimental art scene in general.  In 1969 he founded Image Bank with Vincent Trasov, a method for personal exchange between artists.

Morris has been an influential figure in the west coast art scene.  He was acting curator of the Vancouver Art Gallery and the Centre for Communications and the Arts at Simon Fraser University and has had many guest curatorships at other institutions.  In 1973, he co-founded the Western Front—one of Canada’s first artist-run centers—and served as co-director for seven years.  In 1990 he and Trasov founded the Morris/Trasov Archive, housed at Morris and Helen Belkin Art Gallery, Vancouver, to research contemporary art.

He has established a strong international reputation and worked for many years out of Berlin.  Now residing in Victoria, he has had numerous solo and collaborative exhibitions, and won numerous awards including the 2011 Governor General’s Award in Visual and Media Arts.

Sources: Nicholas Tuele.   Art in Victoria (Victoria: Morris Printing, 1986) and michaelmorris.ca