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Rome LetterEnlarge image

Rome Letter, 1968

Michael Morris
British, Canadian, 1942
acrylic on canvas, with mirror and plexiglas
148.3 x 326.9 cm
Purchased 1969
National Gallery of Canada (no. 15822)
Michael Morris, Rome Letter, 1968 © CARCC 2006

Michael Morris was a key figure in the development of the West Coast art scene during the 1960s. "Rome Letter" marked his transition from intimately sized easel paintings to large-scale works. The artist also introduced his mirror device here, which served to place the observer directly inside the painting. Fragmented reflections disrupt the smooth, formal colour bars created in graduated tonalities, altering the shape and feel of the work and adding an element of self-consciousness to the viewer's experience. In 1969 Morris stopped painting to focus on photography, video and performance art. Over the next several years, he collaborated with other artists to launch the conceptual movement of Mail Art in Canada and the Western Front Society - one of Canada's first artist-run centres.

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