WILMINGTON — Still life artist Jason Morgan arranges inanimate objects so they “relate to one another and engage the viewer in a theatrical way.”
Wilmington College will present an exhibit of his paintings Wednesday, Jan. 22 through March 6 in Harcum Gallery. A reception in honor of the artist will be held Jan. 22 from 6 to 8 p.m. Regular gallery hours are weekdays, from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m., and by special appointment arranged by gallery curator Hal Shunk, professor of art.
Morgan grew up in rural, southeast Texas, where there wasn’t much support for exploring the arts. He expected to become a mechanic and joined the U.S. Marines after high school hoping to see the world before settling down. When an injury cut short his time in the military, he decided to pursue a career in art — and he never returned to his hometown.
Morgan gained employment as a graphic designer, but mentors encouraged him to pursue his talent for painting. His real training came during a period of creating old master reproductions for an interior designer. This experience gave him the confidence to pursue painting full time. He spent the first decade working primarily on portrait commissions and large-scale murals in southwest Ohio.
During the economic downturn in the late 2000s, a local gallery owner in Yellow Springs suggested he try his hand at still life painting. He was initially skeptical but it became the turning point that led to the next decade of work in which he has produced more than 100 still life paintings – a few of which he is proud to showcase in his Wilmington College exhibit.
“Faces have always been intriguing to me and I love the long buildup in portrait painting to the ultimate satisfaction of capturing a likeness,” Morgan said, noting
that, when he shifted to still life painting, he knew he had to find a way to keep it exciting in order to hold his interest as an artist.
“While assembling odds and ends to paint, I discovered an unexpected delight in the staging process,” he explained. “Arranging inanimate objects to they relate to one another and engage the viewer in a theatrical way has become a new and welcome challenge.”