Michael Morris was born in 1942 in Saltdean, England. In 1946, he immigrated to Canada, settling on Vancouver Island. Morris commenced two years of study at the Vancouver School of Art in 1962 followed by a year at the Slade School at London University, England.
In the late 1960's Morris worked as a Curator at the Vancouver Art Gallery and the Centre for Communications and the Arts at Simon Fraser University. From 1973-1980, Morris was instrumental in the foundation of the Western Front Society acting both as Co-Founder and Co-Director during this period. The Western Front was successful in presenting and producing new art activities in the city of Vancouver and beyond.
Morris's earliest paintings were easel-sized gouaches on paper. Initially, his abstractions were based upon landscapes, but he soon became more conceptual in his work. He moved to a larger format and began to work with acrylic on canvas. Often these paintings respond to pop culture, the media, and cinema of the time.
With Vincent Trasov, Michael Morris developed the concept of an Image Bank, which later became known as the Morris/Trasov Archive. The items in this archive were collected internationally throughout the late 1960's and 1970's and reflect in various media the artists' situations, the sentiments of the art world, and life in general during that time period. This archive is now held by the Morris and Helen Belkin Gallery at the University of British Columbia and has been exhibited in parts throughout the 1990's and to the present day.
His work is housed in several major museum collections such as the National Gallery of Canada, Vancouver Art Gallery, Montreal Museum of Fine Arts, The Museum of Modern Art, New York and the Ludwig Museum, Cologne. Michael Morris spent the 1980's working out of Berlin, but returned to Canada in the 1990's. Morris' extensive and global exhibition record spans his entire career. Presently, Morris lives in Victoria.
He is a member of the Royal Canadian Academy of Arts.