|Morgan Bulkeley, Faces in Breeze, 2010, oil on canvas, 40" x 48"|
"In the end, the painting is an attempt to discover a place somewhere between laughter and despair, between joy and anxiety, a place that will be habitable, even restorative, once entered."
- Morgan Bulkeley
Howard Yezerski Gallery is proud to present an exhibition of new work by Morgan Bulkeley. Quirky and smart, the paintings playfully address critical issues in contemporary society. We peer into a world constructed by Bulkeley, where meanings are manifested in characters who interact and play out the imagined stories. Bulkeley taps into a technique of visual narrative that goes back to illuminated manuscripts in which objects interact like turns of phrase, each an index of a much larger idea. Writer Gregory Whitehead notes that Bulkeley "finds a way of figuring the human body that is drained of specificity, abstracted, yet also identifiably human... arriving at an aesthetic of figurative abstraction." The goofy humanoids are blank slates for the artist's fantastical and critical world. As such, the paintings are packed with meaning to dissect and discuss, mull over and discover.
The scenes play out over lush hills, a homage to his beloved Berkshires. Nature is the constant force behind the absurd matrix of human interactions. George Washington is in a frenzy while Donald Duck leads a man into a trap and people are hunted by deer. The hills are a stage, delineating spaces within the painting within which scenes occur - grasshoppers dance with bones, family members take cover from machine guns. A dialogue between nature and man develops as the wings of birds fit carefully up against the angles of a flying piece of paper or of the lines of a bow and arrow. Patterns emerge and the objects move from foreground to background and back again. Birds fly above and below - observing and moving on.