Toby Morriss Photographic Art Exhibit - Hays Art Gallery (Click for details)

Fri, April 1, 20111:00 PM

Toby Morriss honored in Northern photographic art display

     SilverYana: The Photography of F. Tobias Morriss is on display now through April 8 in the Eleanor Hays Art Gallery at Northern Oklahoma College (NOC) in Tonkawa. A reception to honor Toby was held Thursday, March 31in the Hays Art Gallery. Andrea and Mike Morriss, Toby’s parents, of Ponca City spoke at the event.
     F. Tobias (Toby) Morriss was best known for the stark, haunting photographic images he produced almost exclusively through the traditional darkroom (silver gelatin) process. Renowned for his skills as a machinist/mechanic and bricoleur, Morriss died on Feb. 28, 2010, at the age of 36. This exhibition presents more than 45 of the images and handmade cameras he produced during his brief but impressive photographic career. The show’s title SilverYana pairs words referencing the silver gelatin method and the Buddhist term for a journey – often a spiritual one.
     A 1994 graduate of NOC, Morriss earned degrees from the University of Oklahoma (BA, Philosophy) and Tulane University, New Orleans (MFA, Photography). He moved to Columbia, S.C. in 2005 as a refugee of Hurricane Katrina and was an adjunct professor of photography at the University of South Carolina until spring 2010. In addition to serving as a frequent philosophical and mechanical advisor to other faculty and student artists, he also worked as a vintage motorcycle mechanic in Lexington, S.C. A tribute to Morriss from his friend Eric Plaag can be read at
     The exhibit is free and open to the public from 1-5 p.m. daily and during performances in the Kinzer Performing Arts Center, where the Eleanor Hays Gallery is located. For more information contact gallery director Audrey Schmitz at 580.628.6670 or

2008 Artist Statement by Toby Morriss: Capturing a Transient World

     I am a simple person. I shy away from complexity. I don't need it.

     My thoughts occur in images and not words. When I attempt to attach words to the thoughts, they fleet. I communicate best through photography. I capture what beckons me and figure out what it means after the fact. Most of the time it is part of my being that lies below the surface trying to come through and be understood. It is my heart or soul talking to my conscious. I figure out a little more about my inner self through my art. I strive to make the photographs be the end not a means to the end. I try to make a photograph as something rather than a photograph of something. I hope you look at my work instead of what I have photographed.


                                                  Tobias (Toby) Morriss, 2009. (Photo by Eric Plaag)