Jeff Morin's Artist Statement
The odor of things is a trigger for my earliest memories. Lilacs remind me of Aroostook County and the odor of old books reminds me of escape. The smell of brittle pages brings to mind knights and adventure, shipwreck, and physical love. Smell and touch are such personal sensations that perhaps one cannot explain their connection to the rarefied act of artistic creation. When I walk into a studio or print shop, the odor of paint and ink automatically triggers thoughts about process and creation.
I have always equated process with religion and consider the dedication to process to be a driving force. Hence, what could be more pious than letterpress printing on hand-formed paper or making gouache and applying it to the paper? There is also a sense of salvation in reclaiming old printing processes or painting and drawing with materials that have gone out of fashion.
When artists craft narrative works, they often revisit themes and explorations from history. This historical dialogue connects us to the past and gives us purpose as humans. The concepts of purity, grace, pity, desire, and forgiveness, while less at the center of contemporary art-making, have not vanished.
Much of my work comes about as I think about the condition of being a saint. Is one really transfixed in such a way that actions are beyond one’s control? Does God make things happen through the saint’s actions or is the saint an intercessor to God? The saints that I have depicted possess no power beyond themselves and simply happen to live in a state of grace. This grace allows the impossible to seem possible and the supernatural to seem expected. We all possess the ability to impact the world in a saintly way. I am looking for the miraculous in common, private, or quiet moments.
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