HEAVY BREATHING IN NIGHT: Paintings
Morgan Motes’ work is a visual representation of the feeling of being alone in nature. It is an expressionistic attempt to return to a sublime and nuanced world often left out of our technologically mediated lives. His method is conversational and meditative, letting paint speak for itself, leading to compositions that are as organic and living as they are fragmented and foreign. His paintings are abstract, without temporal beginning or ending, and present a moment in its full affective force. Landscapes are not landscapes, but heavy breathing in night.
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A few years ago, I spent a day hunting shark teeth in Gainesville, Florida’s Ring Park. It was very strange to un-bury shark teeth from a creek, miles away from any beach, from when Florida was underwater. The place felt ancient, I wanted to explore it with paint.
I was standing in the woods at night hearing the world undress.
Noontootla Creek is a place I frequently camp at in north Georgia, I feel a kind of connection to it. My interest in this spot, in the way it makes me feel when I’m there, is what made me initially explore landscape painting.
A kind of chest of ground, imagining a heartbeat beneath a pond. This is what it feels like to be calmly held by earth.
My initial study of water, thinking about the retention pond my apartment lives with.
A process piece, painted over and over again until it was nearly fully black, and then carved and washed away with turpentine, until a composition revealed. Then touched up to feel more water-like.
If I see myself in the retention pond, then I am the retention pond, at least for that moment. This piece is about the inseparation of us and what’s outside of us, like becoming nature, the world itself. Also, retention ponds are cool and are not loved enough.
Motes was born in 1997, in the small town Palatka, Florida. He previously attended Florida School of the Arts in 2018, and is working on his BA in painting, drawing and printmaking, with a minor in creative writing, at the University of North Florida. Motes has shown his work in numerous juried group shows and in multiple solo shows in small galleries throughout Florida. Motes’s paintings have appeared in The Talon Review, and The Fine Print Magazine’s “Prairie” collection. His poems have appeared in West Trade Review. Learn more on his blog www.morganmotes.com/blog