The Tioga Arts Council is committed to showcasing emerging and established artists in and around Tioga County. The exhibitions change on a monthly basis. TAC welcomes submissions from artists on a continuous basis. We are interested in all contemporary media including drawing, mixed media, painting, printmaking, photography, experimental media, sculpture, quilting, etc.
The Earth Remembered Me: An Exhibition by Donna Morgan
by Ronnie Vuolo
Layers. Layers of life: one day, one year, one generation layered atop another. Layers of experiences, of growth, of change. Old things, like old people, have more layers because they are a part of more memories. Our layers make us interesting and beautiful. They do the same for Morgan’s work. Vintage items, discarded words, fabric, even wax, layered one atop the other to form a whole: nuanced, complex, remarkable. Each piece tells a story, but what you see depends on your story, your memories, your connections. This is what I see.
From a high perch in Arise and Go, Now, I peer down at a peaceful scene: a hillside, green fields, distant foliage, and a lovely sky in shades of white, blue-green, and pastel. Wind blows the clouds into shapes and wisps – or perhaps it is a wispy fog that tops the hillside. Beyond, there is a body of water and distant shore. Shapes glint off the water, barely visible through the mist. There is a dirt path climbing the hill and tantalizing words embedded in the hillside. Muted colors blend perfectly, pleasing to the eye and spirit. There is peace here, and contentment.
Falling Asleep in the Forest is a patchwork quilt of textures and shapes. Black shapes stand out amidst the muted palate, catching the eye and adding drama. In the background, I see the impression of a watercolor forest, canopy above and dripping graceful slender trunks below. Or are they jellyfish floating in the sea - an oceangoing forest. Incredibly multi-layered and complex, your eye is drawn here and there – darting from one shape to the next. Are those fish, peering at us through dark blue eyes, sending translucent bubbles to the surface as they swim among swaying ocean plants. Or are they forest creatures, glimpsed between trees, branches, twigs. What matters is what you see; what comes from your imagination. This is the wonderful thing about art. And what we see can change, perhaps with our mood, or a trick of light, or the angle from which we view it.
And then there is Rose Garden. These are old-fashioned roses, full and lush and beautiful. I have such roses in my garden – handed down to me through three generations of women. I cannot make out the writing, but in my mind it is a love letter from the past, arriving by steamer from across the sea. Full of hope and longing. This is a love that can survive separation and hardship, that will last a lifetime and beyond. This is what it means to me. Now it is your turn.
Morgan also works in encaustic, and Montana is such a piece. It is early morning. The sky begins to lighten and the air is chill. A cold mist drapes heavily over the pines that rise in layers covering the slopes. It filters through the branches, muffling all sound. Soon the day will begin and the forest will come alive, but in this moment, all is still and silent. Montana catches our eye and holds it – there is such a strong sense of place, of being there.
Morgan’s work draws us in. It leads us to sift through our own layers as well as those she creates, to make our own connections and to enjoy the beauty of both.
The Earth Remembered Me by Donna Morgan will open on Friday, July 5, at Tioga Arts Council (TAC) in the gallery at 179 Front Street from 5 - 8 pm. The show will run from July 5 - 27 during our standard business hours, which are Tuesday, Thursday, Friday, and Saturday 12 - 4 pm or by appointment. Thank you, and join us!