Note on the Selection of
Visual Art, Definitions, Acknowledgments
This exhibition includes selections from the visual artwork of Morris Cox (1903-1998)
dating from 1932 to 1991. While it represents the fullest retrospective of his artwork available for public viewing, it fails to include works made before 1932 or after 1991; examples of his pre-1932 work exist, tho they are scarce, as do often vital works dating post-1991 - as late as 1996 and 1997. The selection also fails to contain any of Cox’s experimental photography from the 1930s, or any of his sculptures. Hopefully examples of these areas of his work will be available for viewing at a future date (perhaps as early as December 2003). As for what is included, certain areas deserve better representation - such as ‘blind drawings’, that strange and fascinating technique that Cox utilized with extreme dedication, as well as the original photocopy collages from the 1980s.
Despite these shortcomings, the artwork
that follows spans seven decades in many styles and media, and hopefully
glimpse the scope and vision of Cox’s oeuvre. What is striking is that
through every new mode he adopts, the work almost always says ‘Morris Cox’
and nothing else - much the same as works by Van Gogh or Picasso (one of
Cox’s personal favorites) do in their respective styles. Evoking these
giants might seem an attempt to inflate Cox beyond his artistic station.
Nothing of the sort. In fact, the impetus for this online exhibition is
to allow Cox to be viewed by a larger audience than has had access to his
work, and to allow that audience to begin an assessment of its artistic
value in the context of 20th Century British art. The difficulty of this
assessment is the fact of seeing it all - seventy years of progression
- at once, rather than as it developed, slowly, year by year. Within such
a great variety of style and coloration, no doubt some works will stand
out more quickly than others; but each artwork (or group of works) should
be considered in light of the period in which it was produced, as well
as in the bird’s-eye view of Cox’s entire career, and indeed the even larger
view of 20th Century art from our current 21st Century vantage point.
The descriptions given attempt accuracy,
but will no doubt need correction and amendment as more information becomes
available. Anything appearing in brackets [ ] has been intercalated. Where
exact measurements are unknown, a rough estimate (from memory) has been
given for some sense of scale.
For standardization in describing Cox’s
prints and printing methods in this exhibition, the terminology utilized
by David Chambers and Colin Franklin in the Gogmagog Press Bibliography
has been adopted as follows:
I would like to thank the following lenders of images:
LINOCUTS and WOODCUTS were made by
cutting away the lino or wood and printing from the remaining surface.
ELIMINATION (or REDUCTION) LINOCUTS
were made from a series of impressions from a piece of lino, from which
more was cut away after each printing, each colour being successively printed
from the relief surface that remained. Called ‘holochromes’ in some of
the early [Gogmagog] books.
OFFSET PRINTS were made by transferring
ink from the raised portion of a block to an offset-sheet; the block was
then replaced by a piece of paper on a flat base and the offset-sheet impressed
upon it so as to print the image.
REVERSE-OFFSET PRINTS were made by
first inking the offset-sheet, then removing some of the ink by pressing
the offset-sheet on to the block and repeating the process several times
until the high parts of the block have removed the ink from the corresponding
parts of the offset-sheet. The block was again replaced by a piece of paper
on a flat base and the offset-sheet impressed upon it so as to print the
image (in this case the reverse of the block). Called ‘phantographs’ in
THE CURTAIN (1960).
REVERSE /DIRECT OFFSET PRINTS combined
the last two processes, ink being first removed from the offset-sheet (reverse-offset),
and then replaced by different coloured inks (offset).
EMBOSSED PRINTS were made by leaving
the block in position and placing the paper upon it, so that when the offset-sheet
was pressed down, the paper was embossed by the block at the same time
as the image was transferred to it.
DIRECT PRINTS may have been made from
blocks of the sort used for offset printing, provided these were not too
irregular. In this case the block was inked and impressed on to the paper
as if it were a linocut. (GOGMAGOG 118-19)
Bromer Booksellers, Inc.
Catherine House Gallery
Henry Boxer Gallery
Trustees of the Morris Cox Estate
In addition, special thanks are due to Alan Tucker and Colin Franklin
for their kind contribution of many images included. Without their valuable
help and assistance, this exhibition would not have been possible.
PLEASE NOTE: All images of multiples and all images of original
art lent by the Morris Cox Estate are copyright by the Trustees of the
Morris Cox Estate, who retain all reproduction rights. The reproduction
rights of all other artwork remains with the lenders.