michael j. morris

Responses, and sights to see
23 March, 2009, 12:04 pm
Filed under: art, inspiration | Tags: , , , , ,

This weekend I made a twenty-four hours trip to Cincinnati. I saw wonderful art and was struck by new ideas. The foremost is something like emphasizing sensation (seeing, hearing, touching, etc.) as experience , before association, connotation or association (which I see also as valid stages of experience, but not the “new” idea). When I returned to Columbus, I took a walk to Goodale Park by the Short North and sat and watch and listened for over an hour. I didn’t try to construct narratives for what I saw, I attempted to associate it with previous experiences as little as possible. I just wanted to see and hear and feel. Here is what stayed with me:

-a wedding photo shoot. the bride is a creamy silk dress and flat shoes. the shimmering light reflecting from the surface of the little pond displayed on the folds and ripples of the silk dress in the gentle breeze.

-a group of college boys playing some sort of game where they threw balls. I couldn’t figure out the rules at all.

-a goose that sat on the rock in the middle of the pond the entire time I was there. never left the rock. sometimes it would stand on one leg.

-a woman who looked like my friend Nikki from Jackson with three small children. I slipped a little, made an association, and felt as if I was seeing a premonition of Nikki’s future family.

-an overweight couple walking around the park most of the time I was there. I couldn’t help but be pleased by people choosing to make positive choices for their health.

-the sounds of dogs and adults and children, cars, the wind in the branches, and a low drone that could have been distant traffic, but was more unrecognizable. A droning.


This weekend in Cincinnati I saw an exhibit by a friend Eric Ruschman entitled “My Tiger, My Heart: paintings and improvisations by Eric Ruschman” at Semantics Gallery. Eric’s paintings frequently deal with issues of childhood, innocence, and a more subtle darkness beneath the surface of these. In this work, one of his primary subjects is his feline roommate, St. Kitten. The titles for the paintings are sometimes witty (“St. St. Kitten,” in which she is depicted with a luminous, moonlight silver halo), almost always situational (“St. Kitten in the Forbidden Room,” “St. Kitten, the Witch, and the Wardrobe,” etc.). The almost feel like serial children’s stories, in which a central character is traced through different places and spaces. You can read a more in-depth description of the work by Matt Morris (my twin brother) here.


"St. Kitten as Salome" by Eric Ruschman


I also had the privilege of being present for an “artist walkthrough” by my brother at his own installation at Mount Auburn Presbyterian Church entitled “A White Hunter, A White Hunter is Nearly Crazy.” During the walkthrough, one viewer referenced John Cage’s “Four Minutes Thirty-three seconds” in reference to the work, commenting how both demarcated a space in which to have an “art experience” as opposed producing a specific object/composition intended to exist as art. This was fairly central to the way in which I experienced the work. The presence of the installation elevated the details of the space that had not been installed. This elevation of the mundane is a powerful art experience, one which I applaud. You can read more about this installation on Matt’s blog here


"A White Hunter, A White Hunter is Nearly Crazy" by Matt Morris


Both of these exhibits contributed to my desire to just see, just hear, just sense, with as little association or meaning-making as possible.

A dear friend and colleague CoCo Loupe posted a sensational response to my piece “About” that just premiered March 12-14. For those of you who saw the piece, I encourage you to read and share her experience. For those of you who did not see it, I hope it might offer you further insight into the work I produced and an experience of it.

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