The subject of inspiration is a commonly used association, intrinsic with the faculties of creativity, and the very reality of the artist, often used in vague terms, and hardly described as literal method. The very vantage point of the artist, and the role played in inspiring the viewer, is difficult to describe in literal phraseology, but made comprehensible in examining the process of such occurrence through the act of art making and viewer engagement of art experience. A new showing of 18 works by Alexander Morris, at Alderwood Fine Art, “Conspiracy in the Sky,” is an exhibition of visceral, passionate art making expression, encouraging an absorbing, contemplating and evocative art viewing experience, that might be the very stuff inspiration is made on.
Morris begins with a metaphor, which has deeply explicit personal meanings. His connection with the raven is something powerfully personal, and dating to early childhood role-play and imagination, when he, in a make-believe world, was the wolf-bird, the raven, who sought the wolf, whom in turn, sought the kill lying somewhere out there in the wilds. The metaphor of “Conspiracy in the Sky” is a recent occurrence, as Morris, when once again in the wilds, gazed into the sky above finding a mass of ravens saturating the atmosphere, with patterns in flight of circular motion, diving sweeps, churning, swooping curls and encompassing the sky. This awesome sight, is the artist’s absorbing, contemplating and evocative reconnection with his own childhood experience, that has led to a now visceral, passionate art making expression.
But don’t think for a moment that Morris has painted ravens in the sky for his new show; the act of mimicry is not the stuff of inspiration, but a painting such as “Weklin,” is, as metaphor speaks in figurative terms, and is translated by the artist, who uses his absorbing, contemplating and evocative experience to further the progress of his studies of the fundamental qualities of the tactility of paint in its finitude and infinitude, that leads to the visceral, passionate art making expression seen in “Weklin.”
Morris, now well known for a reductive painting that explores the inner fabric of the qualities and possibilities of paint itself, makes use of his metaphor, and channels the essences he finds in the richness of the subtlety of nuanced color, the depth he finds in the grain of texture, and the sublime he experiences as color takes “flight of circular motion, diving sweeps, churning, swooping curls and encompassing” the canvas. It is an act of spiritual, emotional, and intellectual transcendence for the artist who has revisited the reality of the truth of his life and embraces the reality and truth of the present. This is inspiration.
For the viewer, in a painting such as “Five Tales,” they may not know anything of the of wolf-bird and the metaphor of ravens in the sky. But their inspiration need be nothing less. As they find absorption in the rhythmic qualities of the textural patterns, find an emotional connection with ethereality of weightless color that can be connected with emotionally and be emotionally transporting and non-domineering, and discover a universe of intellectual connectivity with their own “Conspiracies in the Sky” as they may see the universe as Van Gogh had done, or they may see their own youthful “birds of prey” and discover the reality of the truth of their own life and embrace this reality and truth of their present. This is inspiration.