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Morris Graves

Folded Wings—Memory—& the Moon Weeping
about 1942
ink wash and gouache
29 3/8 x 23 3/4 in.
Smithsonian American Art Museum, Gift of Michael and Caryl Marsh

As a master of contemplative, spiritual expression, Graves used natural forms to symbolize his state of mind and inner vision. His image of a bird with folded wings and the moon seems to emerge from his transcendent imagination, the artist's "inner eye," rather than from direct observation. The transparent, abstract forms suggest an image engraved in the face of a rock, worn away by time and weather, at once fading and accumulating new meaning.