Clarence Morgan - Linear Fictions

Oct 23, 2021 - Nov 27, 2021

Opening Reception - Saturday, October 23rd, 3-7pm

Exhibition on view through November 27th, 2021

Free and Open to the Public


Clarence Morgan – Linear Fictions features a selection of drawings by Clarence Morgan created in 2020. The drawings in Linear Fictions “…were made in an extended moment of uncertainty, when a five-day trip became a seven month stay, when an expansive archive-like studio space became a smaller self-crafted drawing board on a dressing table.” – from Linear Fictions, Non-linear Stories by Tia-Simone Gardner

Morgan explains “the drawings that emerged from an unexpected seven-month stay in Northern California in 2020 were produced when the deadly reality of COVID-19 surfaced and made itself known as a global pandemic. As a result, the body of work in this exhibition was unusual for obvious reasons.

Although the nearly one-hundred and thirty drawings made during this time weren’t made as a direct reaction to the pandemic, it could easily be argued the impact has unavoidably deposited some emotional residue on the work. Also, while in California I watched other devastating events unfold. The reverberations from George Floyd and Breanna Taylor’s murders and demands for change and social justice increased exponentially. The protests escalated both in the United States and around the world demanding all voices be heard.

Meanwhile, with travel restrictions enforced for health reasons, social distancing, quarantine mandates in many states, face coverings, and general apprehension about a shift in the quality of life under these visible and invisible threats, many people, including myself, turned inward. As an artist, focusing on my inner self was already familiar territory. Even so, being without a real studio space and not having my books, regular supplies and materials required me to make some formal and conceptual adjustments to the way I work and think about working. In other words, the work was not made in a vacuum and required making trade-offs.

The drawings were done in a small bedroom with modest furniture and one window. Using rudimentary materials, the drawings were necessarily kept small and simple. Each drawing became a reference point and repetitive echo of the previous drawing. The seclusion and daily routine of drawing fostered moments of deep introspection. In this instance, the drawings had no beginning or end but existed oddly as temporal fragments of time.

Despite the unsettling realities of 2020-21 remaining ever-present in my psyche the drawings themselves carved out a different space to breath and experience light in the face of darkness.”

Clarence Morgan is a visual artist based in painting and drawing, with additional experience in printmaking. Drawing has been the central inquiry of Morgan’s practice for over four decades. Using a variety of tools and mixed media, Morgan has developed a unique drawing process of layered mark making that employs chance operations and improvisation in both minimal and complex compositions. Morgan is a native of Philadelphia, Pennsylvania where he also received his formal education and art training. He is based in Chicago, IL and Minneapolis, MN where he is a Professor of Art at the University of Minnesota.

During his career, Morgan has been an artist-in-residence at the McColl Center for Visual Art (Charlotte, North Carolina) and the Harwood Museum of Art (Taos, New Mexico). His list of solo exhibitions includes Rosenberg+Kaufman Fine Art (New York), Kidder Smith Gallery (Boston), Macrostie Art Center (Grand Rapids, MN), Thomas Barry Fine Arts (Minneapolis), David Lusk Gallery (Memphis), Penland School of Craft (Penland, NC), Downtown Gallery, University of Tennessee (Knoxville), and the Morris Gallery at the Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts (Philadelphia), among many others. Group exhibitions in which his paintings, drawings and/or prints were featured include The American Academy Institute of Arts & Letters (New York), David Richard Contemporary (Santa Fe), Walker Art Center (Minneapolis), Minneapolis Institute of Art (Minneapolis), Cleveland Museum of Art (Cleveland) and Rochester Art Center (Minnesota).

Morgan has been invited to produce prints at Tamarind Institute in Albuquerque, New Mexico, Highpoint Center for Printmaking in Minneapolis, Brandywine Workshop in Philadelphia, and the Patton Printmaking Studio/Workshop at the Anderson Ranch Art Center (Snowmass Village, Colorado). His work is in the permanent collections of the Cleveland Museum of Art, Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts, Walker Art Center, Minneapolis Institute of Art, and the Frederick R. Weisman Art Museum, Michigan State University Music College Billman Pavilion, among numerous other museums, galleries, and institutions.