David Morrison was born in Council Bluffs, Iowa in 1956. He received his MFA in Printmaking from the University of Wisconsin-Madison in 1985. A visiting lecturer and guest artist at numerous universities, he is very involved in the world of printmaking, specifically stone lithography, and he is the Professor Emeritus at Indiana University’s Herron School of Art and Design in Indianapolis. Morrison has exhibited widely, and his work is included in numerous public collections including The Whitney Museum of American Art, The New-York Historical Society, The National Gallery of Art, The Smithsonian American Art Museum, The Nelson-Atkins Museum of Art, the Figge Art Museum, the Arkansas Museum of Fine Arts, the Portland Museum of Art, Collection of Eau Palm Beach Resort & Spa, to name a few.
'David Morrison’s drawings are in the Old Master tradition of still-life and natura morte, whose surface beauty with its signs of decay warn viewers about the transitory nature of all life. In many ways the artist’s refined drawings can be connected to the works of John James Audubon in the N-YHS collection, which, along with their birds, showcase fruit, leaves, and flowers whose signs of decay allude to the cycle of nature and the temporal nature of life. Audubon also tended to isolate his birds and settings against empty white backgrounds. Morrison’s portrayals of leaves also tie into the poetic celebration of nature and landscape found in the works of the Hudson River School. Most profoundly they relate to Asher B. Durand’s obsession with trees (see the 2010 Durand catalogue and the essay “‘A Magnificent Obsession’: Durand’s Trees as Spiritual Sentinels of Nature”). Nevertheless, in the case of the over-lifesize measurements and the leaf's and branch's isolation on the page, Morrison's watercolors are contemporary and modern in appearance, yet profoundly evocative of both past and future.' (Roberta Olson, Curator of Drawings The New-York Historical Society).
My drawings of tree branches and trunks embrace nature. I love the springtime when there are eruptive explosions of buds with new leaves and berries. I am seduced by the sensual shape and color of the buds protruding from the branches. I love the firecracker explosion of the red and yellow berries of the crabapple. My drawings capture a moment of this existence. I am also fascinated with fallen tree branches with their scarification left by diseases, infestation, decomposition and storm damage. My drawings capture the degeneration cycle of plant materials and how they echo the living conditions of man and nature. I am interested in capturing the reality of their existence, with all the imperfections, echoing their fragile existence in nature, not an idealized beautification of nature like botanical illustrations.
The drawings are hyper realistic: they capture minute details of the subjects that I portray, but they are only an illusion of the actual reality. I became obsessed with drawing branches and tree trunks by looking at them through magnifying glasses that allowed me to peer deeper into an astonishing world of abstract shapes and patterns. I then realized the complexity of nature and how magnificent it is. Every time I start a new drawing the discovery process starts anew. In the finished drawings, the branches and tree trunks are isolated on a pristine white background, devoid of all the distractions of other plant materials. My intention is to show the beauty of a simple flowering branch or a scarified tree trunk for the viewer to reexamine the realities of nature.