Donald Morgan was recently the subject of solo exhibitions at Soo Visual Arts Center, Minneapolis; Fourteen30 Contemporary, Portland; and Marylhurst Art Gym, Portland. Group exhibitions include Traywick Contemporary, San Francisco; White Columns, New York; Gavin Brown’s Enterprise, New York; Roberts & Tilton, Los Angeles; International Art Objects; Los Angeles; Karma International, Zurich; and the Palace of Fine Art; Cairo. Reviews of Morgan’s work have appeared in Artforum, Art Issues, The New York Times, Los Angeles Times, The Oregonian, and the Minneapolis Star Tribune. Morgan lives and works in Eugene, and is a member of Ditch Projects. He is represented by Fourteen30 Contemporary.
My work is characterized by a minimal, geometric aesthetic as well as a sort of visual dissonance, as if familiar elements have been rendered into relatively unfamiliar formations. Over the last several years my work has dealt with the process of adapting source material, usually literary fiction, into artwork. I am increasingly interested in the complex connections and disconnections between source material and artistic output. There is always a grab bag of concerns and enthusiasms that goes into one’s work, but books have come to figure more and more prominently in my process. I often use fiction and memoir as sources, selecting specific elements and general themes to re-work, often from a single book. The bodies of work I have made resulting from this methodology function as idiosyncratic, partial or “loose” adaptations of these books. Loose adaptation is a process that allows me to draw attention to the reproductive act itself. It is not my intent to simply illustrate novels but instead to creatively interpret narrative systems, overwrite them with my own signature, and reconfigure them by incorporating aspects not actually present in the original texts. The differences and similarity between the mediums of visual art and writing is central to my work. Recently, my approach has expanded into addressing a wider range of literary subject matter. In my latest work I have addressed book jacket design and top ten lists, and have incorporated literal representations of book forms.
In making the jump from written source material to three-dimensional form, I am concerned with how the viewer physically encounters the work. My pieces are constructed so that one’s experience of them leans toward the phenomenological, in the sense that our bodies are deeply enmeshed in the perceptual and cognitive process of viewing. Most of my work is “passive-aggressively interactive,” resonating in a tactile manner, as if you could sit on it, touch it, interact with it in someway.
I am invested in how the bodies of work I make dealing with literary source material trigger unexpected, yet specific associative readings and sensory responses. It is my intent to refashion aspects of what I read and see into unique sculptural and pictorial configurations that function not only as artifacts that point crookedly back to my interests, but as active entities that create novel, complex experiences for the viewer.
Reception: Saturday, September 10, 1–5pm
Venue: Linfield Gallery
Gallery Hours: Wednesday–Saturday, 12–5pm
900 SE Baker St. | McMinnville
Residence: Eugene, OR