The Surrealism Website
Desmond Morris (1928-)




Writer, educator and television presenter, Desmond Morris, is best known for his seminal book The Naked Ape of 1967 which especially contextualised man as a primate and explored that part of our nature. He had, however, been painting since meeting Conroy Maddox in the 1940s. His influences are Miro and Tanguy rather than Dali and Ernst, though he developed his own pictorial language primarily using biomorphic forms, and one sees a number of phases in his work in which he explored different symbolic devices. Within the seeming abstraction of biomorphism, he often creates a narrative, usually based on scenarios from Nature, which make his paintings very approachable. There is often a humorous element to his imagery. His titles are very evocative and usually give one an entry point into reading a painting.
Sadly, his surrealist paintings are much neglected and he appears to be almost completely dismissed by the art establishment, so much so that he is totally unknown outside of small cirlcles in the UK. He should now be recognised as a major surrealist painter.