The Plant That Heals May Also Poison is the first major United States exhibition of artist Ree Morton (1936-1977) in nearly four decades. The exhibition features several rarely seen works, including a selection of installations, drawings, sculptures, paintings, and archival materials which span a single decade of artistic production before Morton’s untimely death in 1977.
Throughout her career, Morton produced a philosophically complex body of work rich in emotion. Though celebrated by peers and younger artists, Morton’s influence on contemporary art remains considerable yet muted, her legacy widely underrecognized. The eclectic arc of Morton’s practice was rooted in Postminimalism, the inclusion of personal narrative—through literary, theoretical, and autobiographical references—and use of bold color and theatrical imagery infused her objects with sly humor and a concern with the decorative, generating a feminist legacy increasingly appreciated in retrospect. Reimagining tropes of love, friendship, and motherhood, while radically asserting sentiment as a legitimate subject of artmaking, Morton’s conceptually rigorous work demonstrates generosity towards the viewer, its spirit of playfulness and joy inflecting all aspects of the exhibition.