Margaret Morrison is a master with two new intriguing series. She has been described as, “Best known for her detailed still-life and surreal figurative paintings, Morrison’s figurative imagery is expertly lit to invoke a foreshadowing element to the composition. Developing her still-life palette from a more muted tone to the brilliant colors seen today, Morrison’s super real, larger-than-life paintings of food, for example, are good enough to taste!” Morrison lives and paints in Athens, Georgia. She is an Associate Professor of drawing and painting at the Lamar Dodd School of Art at the University of Georgia. She was profiled previously on The Krakens for her series Larger than Life and Child’s Play.
She created a series of oil paintings called Both Ways (below) that addresses all that time we spend in our cars.
You once said you like to ‘cast old symbols in contemporary language’. What is the language in your exhibit Both Ways? In my series Patron Saints I portrayed some of the patron saints of Catholicism after researching their stories and attributes. I was intrigued with the idea of painting time-honored subject matter and symbols with models who were wearing contemporary clothing in a modern setting.
With Both Ways I was ‘casting’ the older, time-honored tradition of landscape painting in a new and very personal way. I think that this work came about because both my parents passed away recently and found myself looking backward to where I grew up. All of these landscapes are very meaningful to me, an extension of my own sight line. I realized after painting them, that all of them face west.
You teach at the University of Georgia. Does working with students affect what you do in your own studio? I have found that teaching fuels what I do in my studio, and what I do in my studio impacts my teaching; it truly is the perfect balance. I love the constant dialogue, the energy that stems from new conversations and ideas. I’m a better artist when I’m teaching and a better teacher when I’m up to my eyeballs in my studio.
What are you working on next? The field is white. I’m just keeping my eyes open, taking visual notes and have no idea where it’s leading me. That’s part of the adventure.
Images courtesy Margaret Morrison/Woodward Gallery.