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CCRI professor exhibiting retrospective at URI
Aug. 9, 2013
CCRI Art Professor Thomas F. Morrissey is having a major retrospective exhibition of selected work gathered from various sources through Aug. 23 at the University of Rhode Island Feinstein Campus Gallery, 80 Washington St., Providence. A reception will be held from 5 to 9 p.m. on Thursday, Aug. 15, as part of Gallery Night in the city.
The exhibition consists of more than 100 works in various media and recent site-specific installation pieces selected from several projects Morrissey has developed over his more than 40-year career as a visual artist. The URI Feinstein Campus was selected because of its large-capacity space.
“Like so many artists that came upon the scene in the late 1960s, Morrissey saw no boundaries between media, working successfully in photography, installation, paint or even clay to express the undercurrents of the day,” said Steven Pennell, exhibition curator and visual arts director at the campus.
This exhibition, the first in a series of smaller exhibition “pods,” will provide a visual swatch across this artist’s 45-year career, which began in the late 1960s after seeing the movie “Blow Up.” Like many who saw this film, Morrissey bought his first professional camera and began his image-making career, capturing the nuances of everyday life on Tri-X black-and-white film.
A few years later, after flying helicopters for the U.S. Army, Morrissey embarked of a life of thoughtful art-making, fueled by the openness to media exploration so embraced by the contemporary artists of his generation.
In this exhibition, the artist has furnished the viewer with selected “snippets” or “extrapolations,” as he calls them, into his long and varied career, depicting selections from the many visual hats he has worn throughout his teaching career and as an energetic, working visual artist.
Morrissey has been making art in Rhode Island since moving here in fall 1979 from his home state of Florida, where he had just received the State of Florida Individual Artist Fellowship. He has a master’s degree in fine arts from the Herberger Institute for Design and the Arts School of Arts at Arizona State University. He has been on the faculty of art at the CCRI since moving to Rhode Island 34 years ago.
Through his career as an art educator and visual artist, he has exhibited, published and taught on the global stage. He has held traveling exhibitions in South America, lectured at fine art colleges in Brazil, Guatemala and Southeast Asia, and received several awards including a Fulbright Senior Scholar Award and the Kellogg Fellowship. He also has received numerous grants and recognition awards in Rhode Island including being twice awarded the New Work award from the Rhode Island Foundation for his experimental approach to his practice.
Included in his international artistic merit, Morrissey constructed a monumental scale marble sculpture, permanently displayed in the sculpture park in Hue, Vietnam, where he was invited as the only American artist to that nation’s third Annual International Sculpture Symposium in 2001.
A multimedia artist, Morrissey has always had a keen interest in the conceptual/installation aspect of art making while maintaining growing portfolios in photography, painting and other media. One of his major contributions to the field has been in the form of his book “Between the Lines: Photographs from the National Vietnam Veterans Memorial in Washington, D.C.,” published by Syracuse University Press in 2000.