200 Words: Morgan Alexander “…between the sea and the sky”

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Morgan Alexander, speaking about his work no title-installation drawings (maple stems), 2016; collected maple stems. (All photos: Kelsey McCray)

Morgan Alexander’s exhibition “…between the sea and the sky,” at Berry College’s Moon Gallery in Rome, Georgia, through February 4, is almost stubbornly determined to be misinterpreted.

Kelly Taylor Mitchell: Kin, Spirit, Seed on view at Westobou Gallery, Augusta

Lacking explanatory labels, its transience is easily viewed as permanence. A perfect cube of dandelion seeds held together only by compression and gravity looks as enduring as marble. A bowl made of cast salt looks like alabaster.

A row of seemingly empty glass jars embodies instability more obviously. They contain samples of fog, each sample meticulously identified as to the quality of the foggy atmosphere and the time of gathering.

Morgan Alexander, where have they gone? where are they going?, 2014; Charred cypress wood plus bases. Photo by Kelsey McCray
Morgan Alexander discussing where have they gone? where are they going?, 2014, made of charred cypress wood.

Previously exhibited beehives incorporating charred wood and symmetrical, site-specific wall sculptures created from leaf stems make Alexander’s general points about change, loss, and interconnection somewhat differently. The show is united by an overall visual elegance and a sense of fragility that only seems to be belied by certain individual artworks.

A wall-spanning constellation of coin-shaped disks of cast salt, titled “the stars we are,” exemplifies Alexander’s insistence upon the ineluctability of ambiguity.  Interpreted differently by every viewer, the elusive arrangement illustrates the artist’s assertion that his art making “is a process of … casting out questions and listening for answers that may never be provided.”

Dr. Jerry Cullum is a freelance curator and critic living in Atlanta. His poems, reviews, and essays have appeared in a wide variety of local and national publications, including Art Papers and Art in America.

Morgan Alexander, the stars we are (detail), 2014/2016; Cast table salt, steel, paint . Photo by Kelsey McCray
Morgan Alexander, the stars we are (detail), 2014/2016; cast table salt, steel, paint. 

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