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Colorful dreams of Creative Arts dean

January 21, 2004

Image of Slow Boat, a painting by Keith MorrisonThe vibrant, rich colors and images in the paintings of Keith Morrison, dean of the College of Creative Arts, recall the brightness and convoluted fantasies of a dream.

"My paintings are generally fantasies I invent. Some are based on memories of childhood in Jamaica, folklore and mythology," he said. "Most tend to include irony about cultural differences. … I leave it to the viewer to unravel his or her experience."

Some of Morrison's fantasies are on exhibit through Feb. 15 in "Winter Work II," an exhibit at the Triton Museum of Art in Santa Clara. Morrison is one of 13 Bay Area art educators whose work is featured.

Two of his most recent watercolor paintings, "Slow Boat" and "Rites of Fire," are on display.

Morrison describes "Slow Boat" as a "lovers' painting," with its two figures wandering aimlessly, rowing through a river filled with lush, green plant life. "Rites of Fire" is much darker.

Image of Rites of Fire, a painting by Keith Morrison"(It) is about a contemporary hell and damnation, involving issues of incarceration, religion, ritual, bigotry, and would seem to equate the Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse with the Ku Klux Klan," he said. "Often paintings take on a life and meaning of their own. And this one did."

Morrison has exhibited his paintings and prints around the world and was selected to represent Jamaica at the 2001 Venice Biennale. His works are included in numerous private and public collections, including those of the Cincinnati Art Museum; Art Institute of Chicago; Pennsylvania Academy; Corcoran Gallery of Art; National Museum of American Art; Museum of Modern Art, Monterrey, Mexico; World Bank; William and Camille Cosby Collection; Washington Post; Burrell Advertising Collection; and Jamaica Institute of Art.

Photo of Keith MorrisonMorrison, in addition to his accomplishments as a painter and teacher, has also distinguished himself as a curator, art critic and university administrator. As dean of the SFSU College of Creative Arts, Morrison oversees the departments of Art, Broadcast and Electronic Communication Arts, Cinema, Design and Industry and Theatre Arts as well as the School of Music and Dance. The college has the only academic program devoted to the creative arts in Northern California.

The Triton Museum of Art is located at 1505 Warburton Ave. in Santa Clara. The exhibit is open from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. daily and Thursday until 9 p.m. Admission and parking are free. For details, call (408) 247-3754.

-- Matt Itelson and Adrianne Bee

Artwork images: Courtesy of Miller/Geisler Gallery


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Last modified January 21, 2004, by the Office of Public Affairs