Michael Morris (1941 Saltdean, England – 2022 Victoria, British Columbia, Canada) was a catalyst for the development of the Vancouver art scene. As co-founder of Image Bank, he revolutionized the potential of mail exchange as a decentralized method of artistic networking. In 1969, along with Vincent Trasov and Gary Lee Nova, Morris founded Image Bank, a collaborative platform that engaged in an international exchange of reworked images and correspondences by mail, operating independently beyond museums and galleries. Taking its name from a play on a quote by Claude Lévi-Strauss, Image Bank was a conceptual system that embodied a shared consciousness drawn from subliminal mass culture imagination. Morris, Trasov, and Nova were further responsible for compiling addresses and image requests first published in early issues of the legendary FILE Magazine by the artist group General Idea and eventually collected in the International Image Exchange Directory published in 1972. Parallel to Image Bank activities, Morris was among the initiators of the prolific Western Front Society, an interdisciplinary artist-run center located in Vancouver. From the discontinued operations of Image Bank in 1978, Morris and Trasov established the Morris/Trasov Archive, consisting of countless ephemera, as well as photographs, films, and props. Morris was awarded an honorary doctorate from Emily Carr University of Art + Design in Vancouver in 2005, the Governor General’s Award in Visual and Media Arts by the Canada Council in 2011, and the Audain Prize for Lifetime Achievement in Visual Arts in 2015. Morris’s works are included in the collections of the Montreal Museum of Fine Art, the National Film Board of Canada in Ottawa, the Victoria and Albert Museum in London, and The Museum of Modern Art in New York.

Artworks (21)