San Diego Central Library
Art Periodical Collage Series
820 E. Street
San Diego, CA
June 6th, 2010 - October 18th, 2011
Allan Morrow, Artnews May 1980, #2,
2008, Collage, 11 x 14
Allan Morrow, Arts February 1989,
2003, Collage, 11 x 14
Allan Morrow, Artnews November 1981,
2007, Collage, 11 x 14
Allan Morrow, Images & Issues, Spring 1982,
2007, Collage, 11 x 14
Collages by Allan Morrow to Be Featured in Central Library Arts Exhibition
Noted San Diego Artist Debuts Body of Work Never Previously Exhibited
SAN DIEGO – Nearly fifty collages by San Diego artist Allan Morrow will be featured in a solo exhibition opening Sunday, June 6, 2010 in the second floor Corridor Gallery of the Central Library, located at 820 E St., downtown San Diego. Titled “Allan Morrow: The Art Periodical Collage Series,” the exhibition will run through October 18, 2010. The exhibition is open to the public during library hours and is free of charge. Library hours are: Mondays and Wednesdays, noon to 8 p.m.; Tuesdays, Thursdays, and Fridays, 9:30 a.m. to 5:30 p.m.; and Sundays, 1 to 5 p.m. The library is closed Saturdays. For more information the public can call the library at (619) 236-5800 or visit online at www.sandiegolibrary.org and click on the Visual Arts Program.
As one of San Diego’s best known artists in the 1970s and 1980s, Morrow’s visually stunning paintings – abstractions grounded in landscape – were among the most memorable art created locally and exhibited internationally during those decades. During the 1980s Morrow exhibited with the Bullmoose Group, described by one critic as “urban art guerillas,” whose members included Ron Williams, Eric Christian, Stuart Burton, Tom Frankovich, and Morrow. After an absence of nearly twenty years from the city’s art scene, Morrow reemerged with a new body of work, his “Fence Series” mixed-media constructions, in which he reinterpreted earlier themes while taking them in a fresh and surprisingly different direction. These works are on view in a critically acclaimed solo exhibition at the Pacific Beach/Taylor Branch Library through June 19.
Morrow began the “Art Periodical Collage Series” in late 2002; then put the project on hold until 2007. Within a year, he had amassed a total of 163 collages. The raw materials for these works were illustrations for advertisements, reviews, and articles that appeared in major art journals from 1975 to 1993, including Arts, Art in America, Artforum, and ArtNews. Morrow was especially intrigued by the concept of recycling art magazines into works of art that could be made inexpensively.
Perhaps the most engaging aspect of about Morrow’s collages is that they are unusually dynamic and graphically powerful for their size. (Excluding the 11-by-14-inch backing on which they are mounted, they rarely exceed four or five inches in any dimension.) In these works, Morrow’s primary interest is color, composition, the interplay of shapes and textures, repetition, and other formal concerns. He pulls this off impeccably, not only in terms of beautifully resolved aesthetics, but also flawless craftsmanship. Making these works even more impressive is the fact that the artist designed them “on the fly,” that is, spontaneously as he selected and cut apart the images he found in the art magazines, with no preliminary sketches or preplanning. However, he admits that “some of the collages came together more easily than others.”
Beyond the purely visual appeal of these collages, anyone familiar with art or art history will enjoy seeing well known or stylistically recognizable works of art deconstructed and reassembled into new ones. In studying the relationships of the collaged fragments to one another, viewers may also decipher subtle visual puns or other thought-provoking juxtapositions of elements. For the most part, these were intentional, but, in some instances, it was months or years before Morrow realized that his subconscious had been at work. Like his “Fence Series” constructions, Morrow’s “Art Periodical Collage Series” have never been exhibited and are completely unknown to the general public. They are a delightful discovery.
The San Diego Public Library’s Visual Arts Program is a nationally recognized series of exhibitions, lectures, a television program, and other art-related activities. The mission of the Program is to demonstrate the Library’s role as a cultural institution embracing a broad range of disciplines, while assisting San Diego’s mid-career and older professional artists in achieving wider local, regional, and national attention. Visual Arts Program exhibitions are made possible, in part, by contributions from individuals, volunteer efforts, and the Friends of Central Library. For more information about the Morrow exhibition, or tax-deductible contributions to the Visual Arts Program, please contact Library Curator Mark-Elliott Lugo at (619) 238-6627 or visit the Library’s website at www.sandiegolibrary.org.