Robert C. Morgan, Lonestar is Given to Love

David RIchard Gallery

Apr. 24, 2024 - May. 23, 2024

508 West 26th St, Studio 9E
New York, 10001
PHONE 917 853-8161

ROBERT C. MORGAN, Lonestar is Given to Love

April 24 – May 23, 2024

Artist Reception: Thursday, April 25 from 6:00 – 8:00 PM

David Richard Gallery
508 West 26 ST, Suite 9F
Chelsea, New York City

Click here to view the exhibition
David Richard Gallery is pleased to present, Robert C. Morgan’s Lonestar is Given to Love, his first solo exhibition with the gallery. The presentation includes 19 paintings of an intimate scale, the smallest measuring 8.5 to 8.5 inches square up to 22 x 22 inches and 16 x 30 inches. All the works are acrylic paint on canvas and nearly all have metallic paint incorporated to varying degrees. Morgan created the paintings from 2010 through 2024, which includes debuting the five newest and largest canvases from his latest Landscape series.

The canvases of the Landscape series are, as one would expect from the title, in the horizontal orientation and have the presence of horizon lines to varying lengths in each composition. The palette, like most of Morgan’s recent series of artworks included in this presentation, is reductive and includes mostly brown, burnt umber, dark blue, silver, and gold hues. However, the placement of the hues in the compositions is not the expected: with the blues, silver and gold on top, emulating the skies and the earth tones below the horizon lines masquerading as the grounds. Instead, and as one would also expect from Morgan, these paintings are not as simple as they may seem. They are not picturing a landscape per se, as they have a preponderance of large vertical shapes spanning from top to bottom of the canvases that are very much in the foreground without atmospheric perspective. Thus, the viewer cannot determine the true scale. These new compositions are complex, abstract interpretations by the artist that conflate straight forward and understandable geometric shapes with less obvious conceptual and metaphysical wonderings; the titles are directional, but the rest is up to the viewer. It is noteworthy that the only clue or point of entry into the otherwise near-matte surfaces of Morgan’s landscape paintings, from his novel and ever-present mixtures with ultramarine, is his use of metallic paints. The reflections and contrasts with the matte acrylic paint are what help direct the viewers eye, suggest spatial depth or a different surface that can be considered with the title to elucidate a personal space or narrative for the viewer.

The new Landscape paintings are presented in the context of other recent series, such as Loggia paintings which implies an architectural space, but does not yield such an image as imagined by the viewer. Instead, Morgan chose to picture the disparate possible shadows cast by such structures. Other series providing context for the Landscapes include: Distance (Takemitsu), Light Streak, and Focus among other aesthetically related series and stand-alone artworks.

Morgan’s paintings are slow paintings, they take time to consider and interpret. The title of the exhibition, Lonestar Is Given to Love, is also the title of a poem written by Morgan and thus, reflecting the multidimensional life and career of the artist. The time to view the paintings, reflect on them vis-à-vis the titles, then consider the title of the exhibition and corresponding poem requires considerable commitment, which is what Morgan desires from viewers and does himself with anything he chooses to pursue. The viewer is invested at that point and becomes a significant participant in the exhibition. Just like most of Morgan’s career and life, everything is for a purpose. It is an experience, an exploration, and an understanding of the world and oneself.

About Robert C. Morgan’s Artworks:

Morgan has had a dual career in art since the beginning, both as a maker and historian / writer. He makes no distinction between the two and views both as one and the same communication between his eye and mind on one level and the outside world on another level – in other words, personal and global considerations. His work is a manifestation of his thoughts and actions in and out of the studio as well as his persona. He does not create nor adhere to boundaries, which allows him to respond to impulses and whatever interests him. Such an approach allows for experimentation and forays into seemingly disparate areas, thus keeping his work fresh and challenging over the past five decades. His adherence to detail permeates what he does, including the source of his work.

Morgan was influenced early on by meeting Robert Motherwell and his words and advice. A series of stunning small gestural works resulted in the late 1960s and were recently presented at his solo exhibition in fall 2022 at the Scully Tomasko Foundation in New York. While he has worked largely in geometric realms, the influence of Motherwell has persisted, mostly in terms of being true to his art making and understanding art history and theory, focusing on his studio practice, exacting detail, and confidence in his abilities and decisions, both in painting and writing.

Morgan does not create pictures, instead his artworks are the output of complex thoughts and introspection in the context and intersection of metaphysical thinking, awareness of history, and the reality of the contemporary outside world. Morgan works in series that first explore then resolve a conflict. In some ways the seriality implies a systemic approach, however, after seeing more of his artworks and approach, they truly seem more process driven.

There is an unapologetic bluntness in Morgan’s artwork and writing as he probes binaries and contrasts, possibly because the truth or most interesting and compelling aspect of any interaction is at the very interface of the greatest differences between two opposites. Morgan’s approach is challenging, demanding, and exacting. His paintings are full of binaries as noted above: warm vs cool colors, matte vs shiny surfaces, Eastern vs Western philosophies, rigorously geometric vs less defined conceptualism, curvilinear vs rectilinear shapes, and intellectual vs emotional approaches to art making to name a few.

This approach to art making and thinking is expansive, providing multiple points of entry and interpretation. More important, it keeps the process and interpretations fresh and evergreen, which is remarkable when considering geometry as a subject and painting as a process. Both ancient and very much alive and kicking in Morgan’s world.

Morgan is a thinker and communicator. He utilizes every available method and channel possible to share his insights and learnings through different media and in diverse forms. His communications and teachings come through mark making and painting, performative acts, curating exhibitions, lecturing large and small audiences, the written word through verse: poetry or prose, and narratives that share a story and attempt to make order out of desperate content and chaos.

About Robert C. Morgan:

Robert C. Morgan’s paintings, photographs, performance works, conceptual art, and experimental films have been exhibited in several one-person and group exhibitions throughout the United States, Europe, Eastern Europe, South America, and the Republic of Korea. He has shown at prestigious galleries and museums, including exhibitions at the Institute of Contemporary Art, Boston (1972, 1974), Franklin Furnace (1976), The Whitney Museum of American Art (1976), McKissick Museum, University of South Carolina (1980), Artists Space (1976, 1977, 1985), Galleri Bellman, NYC (1983), The Art Gallery of the University of Texas, Permian Basin (1984), The Memorial Art Gallery, University of Rochester (1986), CEPA, Buffalo (1987), Galerie Antoine Candau (Paris), 1989, Galerie 1900-2000, Cologne Art Fair (1990), Millennium Film Workshop (1988), Eric Stark Gallery (1992), Construction in Process in Lodz, Poland (1993), Anthology Film Archives (1996), and The Museum of Modern Art, Film Department (1999). From 1988-89, he was selected as an artist in residence at the International Studio Program at The Clocktower, Institute for Art and Urban Resources. In 2006, he was invited to screen a selection of his Super-8 films at the Millennium Film Workshop in New York. His paintings and early films were exhibited at the Gaya Fusion Gallery in Ubud, Bali, in the Republic of Indonesia (2006), the Amelie Wallace Gallery at SUNY Old Westbury (2007), and the Wooster Arts Space (2007). In 2009, Morgan was given a two-gallery survey exhibition (with catalog) at the Sideshow Gallery, Williamsburg, in collaboration with the Bjorn Ressle Gallery, NYC. In 2010, he performed “Purgation of Nike” at The Lab Gallery in New York. In 2012, Morgan showed recent paintings at Able Fine Art in Seoul, and was represented at the Korean International Art Fair in October 2012. A major survey exhibition (with catalog) was exhibited at the Proyectos Montclova in Mexico City (March 23 – April 29, 2017). His work was shown in 2017 and 2018 at the Armory Show in New York City. His solo show was at the Scully Tomasko Foundation (9.17-11.30, 2022) in New York, and a group show was at Gallery Artego in New York in 2022. He recently had a major exhibition at the Shilla Gallery in Seoul in 2023.

About David Richard Gallery:

In 2015 David Richard Gallery launched DR Art Projects to provide a platform for artists of all stripes—international, national, local, emerging and established—to present special solo projects or to participate in unique collaborations or thematic exhibitions. The goal is to offer a fresh look at contemporary art practice from a broad spectrum of artists and presentations. The Gallery opened its current location in New York in 2017.

Since its inception in 2010, David Richard Gallery has produced museum quality exhibitions that feature Post War abstraction in the US. The presentations have addressed specific decades and geographies as well as certain movements and tendencies. While the gallery has long been recognized as an important proponent of post-1960s abstraction—including both the influential pioneers as well as a younger generation of practitioners in this field—in keeping with this spirit of nurture and development the gallery also presents established artists who embrace more gestural and representational approaches to the making of art as well as young emerging artists.

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