Headquarters: New Work by Donald Morgan
The window front cubicles at GridSpace are transformed into a site specific façade of faux shattered window panes. Utilizing hand cut shards of mirrored plexi and silk screened images, the piece is characterized by the sharp “real time” immediacy inherent in the mirrored surfaces in contrast with the flat-footed yet almost spectral silk screens. The icons of the piece, ie, the shattered “glass”, a stylized spider’s web, a distorted peace sign and a house cat paused while peering out at the viewer, all function together to reference different moments or processes. For instance, the slow construction of a web, the quick action of breaking a window and the resulting instant creation of dark, interior negative space, the fact of the peace sign’s loaded yet nebulous historical context and the photographically arrested gaze of the cat which then momentarily fixes our gaze. The resulting effect is characterized by a deliberate and off-kilter sense of different kinds of time unfolding concurrently.
Donald Morgan’s work is invested in re-presenting and re-fashioning a lexicon of forms and icons which vary widely in source, from northwest forest imagery to the artifacts of specific cultural practices. Combining modernist tropes with an often regionalist visual vernacular, his work conveys an open-ended narrative sense as well as a sort of pleasurable visual dissonance, as if something familiar has been rendered into the relatively unfamiliar. His paintings and sculptures function as unique combinations of materials and signs that strive to produce novel and complex experiences for the viewer.
This is Donald Morgan’s first solo show in New York. Recent solos shows include Rocks Box Fine Art in Portland, Or and General Store in Milwuaikee, Wi. Group shows include White Columns, Ny; Gavin Brown’s Enterprise, Ny; China Art Objects, La and Karma International, Zurich, Switzerland. Reviews of his work have appeared in Art Forum, Art Issues, the NY Times, the LA Times and the Oregonian. Prior to teaching at U. of Oregon he was a Sculpture Lecturer at UCLA and a furniture maker. He earned his MFA at Art Center College of Design . He is a co-director of Ditch Projects of Springfield, Oregon and is a co-director of the recently founded artist’s residency Oregon Coastal Research Center. He is the recipient of a 2012 Oregon Arts Commission Individual Artist Fellowship.