Journal of Surrealism and the Americas, Vol 7, No 1 (2013)

George Morrison's Surrealism

W. Jackson Rushing III


The Chippewa modernist George Morrison (1919-2000) was the first Native American artist to be engaged by surrealist principles and strategies, including automatic writing, collage, and the use of found objects. After training at the Art Students League in New York City (1943-‘46) and studying and exhibiting in Paris and the south of France (1952-‘53), Morrison participated in the Abstract Expressionist milieu in Manhattan, where he was befriended by the painter Franz Kline. After more than twenty-five years as a conflicted expatriate, Morrison returned to his Native roots in Minnesota in 1970 and began to use Surrealism and its interest in dreams to forge an identity as an indigenous modernist. Because of his unwavering commitment to a surrealist process that he practiced for almost sixty years, authenticity and integrity are the twin characteristics that unify Morrison’s diverse creations.

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