Why so many women? The question answers itself: women are interesting! The performance of the female gender is fascinating. It’s a performance I myself engage in, and consequently have a lot to say about. As the old song goes, if that’s all there is, let’s start dancing. I am looking for a peculiar kind of intensity, something that says that a person has really lived—an essential darkness that is ultimately life-affirming. You can see this in a person’s worn and angled features, jaded eyes or overdone gestures. I gravitate towards subjects who just look like they walked out of one of my paintings.
It is my personal philosophy that identity is fluid and changeable—that we perform who we are whether we are awake to this process or not. The figures I paint have an awareness of those possibilities and make use of them. For me, decadence implies a voracious appetite for life and its itinerant hungers, the pursuit of which can be quite destructive. It is our imperfections and our scars that make us most interesting and beautiful. Most people accept that there is some kernel of self in there, a truth of who they are that dictates their tastes and their actions, which in turn reinforces this ironclad sense of self. We really don’t know how much of the self is encoded.
I feel that a fixed view of the self is only a comforting illusion, and that we can be or like whatever we want, and make it something new at any time, as long as we recognize the power to do so. Genesis’s transformation to a pandrogyne is fascinating; their work is really powerful—all the more so since it incorporates grief and loss. The question “What the hell am I doing?” quickly turns into “Who am I?” and that isn’t a question with a definitive answer, but one that requires some invention, which you are at liberty to explore without fixed notions of where things must end up.
[fragmente din interviul acordat de Heather Morgan publicației BOMB, decembrie 2012]
1. Reach, 2012. Oil on canvas. 32×48 inches.
All photos courtesy of the artist.