Michael Morris

Berlin boys from the Boyopolus series

Artist, educator, curator. Michael Morris was born in 1942 in Saltdean, England and immigrated to Canada at age four. In 1960, Morris began his studies at the University of Victoria, transferring the following year to the Vancouver School of Art (now Emily Carr University of Art + Design). After graduating with honors in 1964, Morris attended two years of postgraduate studies at the Slade School of Fine Art at the University College London. There he absorbed the work of Fluxus and the European avant-garde, artistic developments that had a profound influence on the Vancouver experimental art scene. Upon his return to Vancouver, Morris became acting curator of the Vancouver Art Gallery and the Centre for Communications and the Arts at Simon Fraser University.
In his roles as a curator and, primarily, as an artist, Morris was a key figure of the West Coast art scene during the 1960s. Notably, Morris, along with Vincent Trasov, founded the Image Bank in 1969, a system of postal correspondence between participating artists for the exchange of information and ideas. The intention of the Image Bank was to create a collaborative, process-based project in the hopes of engendering a shared creative consciousness—in opposition to the alienation endemic to modern capitalist society—through the deconstruction and recombination of its ideological forms. In 1973, Morris co-founded the Western Front—one of Canada’s first artist-run centers—and served as co-director of the Western Front for seven years. Morris has participated in artist-in-residence programs both in Canada at the Banff Centre (1990) and at Open Studio (2003) and internationally at Berlin Kustlerprogramm (1981-1998). Morris was awarded an Honorary Doctorate of Humanities in 2005 by Emily Carr University of Art + Design. He currently lives and works in Victoria.