Margaret Morrison is an oil painter based in Athens, Georgia. Her larger than life compelling imagery of sweets has the onlooker dazzled, however her candy tales are tantalising on more levels than taste, going deeper than the eye can see, suggesting hidden meaning and storytelling. She has been represented by ‘Woodward Gallery’ for over twenty years. Margaret also paints surreal portraits of stunning old tat that speak to her, urging her to paint them huge canvases in wonderful colours.
“Oh, “style” is a dangerous word. I don’t believe in finding a “style”, I believe that your style finds you. I launch into a painting right away covering the entire surface with wet drippy paint in the first few minutes. My goal after the first session is to get every square inch of the canvas or panel covered with a field of colour. Colour analysis for me is one of the most satisfying aspects of painting; searching for intricate adjustments in value, hue and saturation is like figuring out a complex but endlessly intriguing logic problem. The wet into wet process of painting allows me to make very fine adjustments right on the surface of the painting. I would say that a good portion of the mixing happens as I’m brushing oil paint into a fresh and open layer of paint. It allows me to keep the surface malleable, like clay.
I embrace the challenge of capturing the physical essence of whatever it is that I’m looking at. Deep down, I am a figure painter. I just can’t help myself. Even when I am painting still life objects, they come across as portraits. I have an ongoing love affair with voluptuous, naughty treats and decadent food. Admittedly, sexy, sweet subjects are as physically satisfying to paint, as they are to eat. I purposefully choose subject matter that shares the inherent texture of wet oil paint, gooey and glistening, with sensual overtones. I love visual “bling”.
I refuse to buy in to the modern mantra that painting is dead. For me, painting is very much alive and kicking and is a significant and valid language of visual expression. Painting has been around since prehistoric humans painted on cave walls… I don’t think it’s going away any time soon. To me, painting is a language one employs to convey what the soul and psyche are compelled to communicate.
I’m a sucker for the sublime. I am always looking to be swept away by a moment; the light passing through clear candy, casting an electric shadow; the upside down reflections within a glass marble, a hint of a suggested storyline.
Lately I have been reinventing my work. I’m exploring new materials, subject matter and approaches; everything is on the table. My recent work is figural, small in scale with arbitrary colours painted in acrylic. How’s that for shaking things up?”
Artwork by Margaret Morrison at Woodward Gallery, NYC
Words by Loo Loo Rose