Tuesday, September 3, 2013

The Holy and Obscene


On my drive to The Falcon (819 E. Washington Street, Suite 2, Orlando, Fl), the skies to the north loomed ominous with lightning flashes and low rumbling thunder. I was on my way to see the first solo show of Morgan Wilson. I've seen Morgan's work a number of times around town, and I've seen her paint. This show was appropriately titled "The Holy and Obscene". Morgan paints beautiful women but each piece has a dark and sensual subplot. I admire the chances she takes by focusing on themes far astride of what is often seen in this homogeneous white bread theme park town. Tod Caviness who was at the bar with his wife Christin, bought me a beer, a Spitzen Oktoberfest brew that quickly went to my head. I hope they weren't insulted by the fact that I immediately wandered off to sketch.

I met Blair Richardson, a dear friend of the artist, who was the model for the center painting in this sketch. She confided that Morgan had asked to take pictures of her. When Blair asked what the photos were for, Morgan explained that it was a surprise. When Blair walked into the exhibition, tears welled up in her eyes when she saw the painting. A crown of  thick nails were driven into the painting.  Morgan was humbled to know that her work could elicit such a strong emotional response. She then joked, that maybe her friend was just vain. I doubt that. Each painting was in an intricate frame that accentuated the sensuality.

As I sketched, the exhibit became increasingly crowded. The Falcon barista, Wendy Claitor let me know that Melissa Schumann, the owner of the Falcon said that my beers were on the house.  Well heck, I'll have another then! I needed to refill my water brush, so I took out a vile and syringe that I use to get water in the brush handle. I like the fact that it makes me look a bit like a drug addict. I've done this a thousand times, but this time, I misjudged and pulled on the syringe plunger too hard. It popped loose sending the pink plastic bottle crashing to the floor and water sprayed everywhere soaking my sketch and pants. Artist Janae Corrado helped me recover the bottle and all the pencils that fell off my lap when I jumped up in surprise. Janae remarked that, "At least the beer didn't spill!" I really shouldn't drink and draw. I'm such a lush.

A red dot was placed under the round painting of a woman with a gold tiara that said "Fuck". Another painting was of one of the Yow Dancers all in blue with golden armor. A huge slug mounted a nude woman on all fours. Morgan posed for photos and discussed her work with patrons. Two guys seated next to me where discussing Morgan's work. She had decided to work on a sketch at a table outside and one of the men went out to watch her. When he returned, he said you can learn much about an artist by seeing how they work. He was fascinated by Morgan claiming she was more interesting than her paintings. I can't imagine why anyone would want to separate the two. He felt that many of the paintings resembled the artist. Apparently a painting of a woman with a ruffled collar had to be reworked multiple times because Morgan kept painting the penis too big. The guys joked that she needed to paint many more cocks till she got it right.

Morgan explained, "I tried to avoid being too 'preachy' with the theme, but there's definitely some undertones of religion and royalty! My work is meant to create a meeting place for the elevated and degraded, the holy and obscene. My most recognizable theme, through all mediums, is a pervasive sexuality. At times subtle and sensual, there is always a lurking secret begging to be discovered by my viewers, the incidental voyeurs. Peering into a world meant to mirror every dark velvety desire, even those unrealized or unimagined. I aim to remind the viewer that desire and despair are not deep-buried things: they exist in every detail of who we are. In a way, the things we love and fear are what make us more than simply human."

Mark your Calendar! Morgan's work is on display at the Falcon through September 26th. I'm a huge fan of this woman's work. Don't miss it.

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