Wednesday, November 29, 2006

Art Space Talk: Heather Morgan

I recently interviewed artist Heather Morgan. Heather is an artist who strives to reveal the beauty and terror of human existence. She has an eye for the beauty that can be discovered in people who have been 'damaged'. Thus, she finds beauty in weakness, pain, brevity, and struggle. Heather embraces this aspect of human life with a theme of self-creation. She is interested in the fluidity of identity.

The viewer takes on a voyeuristic nature as he or she gazes upon Heather's paintings. The struggle of her figures can be observed in their awkward poses and contorted positions. They appear sickly and broken... yet they have an inner strength that stares back at the viewer. Heather's goal is to stimulate contradictory forces of attraction and repulsion."

Q. When did you first discover that art would be an important part of your adult life?

A. "I began studying Biology in college, but I spent my free time running around town with students from art school. They seemed to be having such a time of expressing themselves. I took an acting class and it was there I discovered that I needed to make something in order to survive the condition of living."

Q. How has creating art shaped you professionally and personally?

A. "Making art does not so much "shape" my profession, as it is my profession. I learned to be personally creative through relentless self-invention, before I was even conscious of such a thing. My work expresses the possibilities of self-creation and then contributes to them."

Q. How has society influenced your art? Are there any social implications in your art?

A. "Society must be endured. And yet it sparkles with the power of individuals."

Q. What are your artistic influences? Has anyone inspired you?

A. "I am inspired by a Wildean wit and a Morrissey tune, the epic pathos of Michelangelo, the threatening qualities of a German Expressionist painting, the seething life in Nan Goldin's scene, the breathtaking snarkiness of John Currin. David Bowie is really the ultimate self-creator."

Q. Tell me a little about your background. Are your past experiences reflected in the work you do today? If so, how?

A. "I come from a background of trauma and violence. This has taught me to be inventive and to be able to mingle all kinds of experiences for the purpose of showing them to others. I want to add a little beauty to the world, made poignant through the pounding of our puny fists."

Q. How long have you been a working artist?

A. "13 years?"

Q. If you could pinpoint the characteristics of people who collect your art, what would they be?

A. "The people who collect my work have the knack for finishing the stories that are suggested there."

Q. Why did you choose the medium(s) that you use?

A. "I approach many other areas with the same zeal and sensibility as that of my paintings. I write, take photographs, shoot video, and perform. I studied painting initially with romantic ideas about the Painter, which proved untrue. Painting is not comprised (only) of swanning drunkenly about the city, it is hard work. One could spend a whole lifetime at it, it would seem."

Q. Do you have a degree or do you plan to attend school for art? If so, how has it helped your art career?

A. "I have an M.F.A in painting/printmaking. It is a terrific conversation starter. As soon as you mention it to someone, they will immediately inform you that they cannot draw. Studying painting was an experience I cherish for what it lent to my abilities. My career can be measured with my coffin."

Q. Where can we see more of your art?

A. "My studio is a pretty fun place to visit. You can have the fur chair."

Q. Are you represented by a gallery?

A. "Most recently I was represented by the oldest gallery in Berlin, Ladengalerie. The director there was a singular force in promoting the interests of figurative painters from the GDR."

Q. What trends do you see in the 'art world'?

A. "I studiously avoid examining what the art world is doing. I just look at the pictures."

Q. Any tips for emerging artists?

A. "Just look at the pictures."

Q. What was the toughest point in your career as an artist? Have you ever hit rock-bottom?

A. "Every point is a tough point, I hit rock bottom every other Tuesday. Don't you?"

Q. In one sentence... why do you create art?

A. "Art is a way to describe the beauty and terror of existence."

I hope that you have enjoyed my interview with Heather Morgan. Feel free to critique or discuss her work. You can view more of her work by clicking on the following link: www.starboy.org

Take care, Stay true,

Brian Sherwin

5 comments:

Anonymous said...

Your paintings are amazing !

Anonymous said...

Heather Rocks!!! and you gotta love her paintings too...

oh, and BTW that "Conversation Starter BFA" is only from one of the most prestigious painting academies in the US...so modest...life in New Haven must have been an experience...

DIANE said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Anonymous said...

What fun is a party without YOU????

Grier Horner said...

Great interview. Succinct and on target. I look at your work and listen to your words and I know you are going to be a star.