Morgan Smith has her Bachelor of Fine Arts in painting from the Savannah College of Art and Design she received in 2017, her Associates of Arts in clinical psychology from the College of Southern Maryland in 2014 and will receive her M.F.A. in painting from the Savannah College of Art and Design in May 2021.
Smith’s senior thesis show “Delusions of Grandeur” at Cedar House Gallery May 21- May 23, features a collection of fabric and textile mixed-media sculptures and installations.
“Delusions of Grandeur” brings together psychoanalysis, in the form of Lacan’s “Objet Petit A,” with the architecture of desire to uncover the absurdity, rooted in human nature, of the current society in which we exist.
“The inspiration for ‘Delusions of Grandeur’ stemmed from my childhood compulsion of categorizing and collecting items,” Smith said. “My mother and I used to play find-it games, and as I grew older, the world became a massive find-it game as well. The more objects I encountered, the more I began to call into question the world I was surrounded by: the reality of hyper commodity consumerism. I realized all of this waste and detruse that took the form of second-hand objects. I draw connections between objects’ textures and material qualities to formulate a broader statement about consumerism and the commodity. I like to bring together aspects of psychoanalysis which deal specifically with the realm of desire.
This idea that desire, once we fulfill it, is no longer as appetizing as it once was. Because once you fulfill your desire by getting the item, it no longer fuels longing and thus becomes a part of the refuse,” Morgan added.
Morgan’s sculpture and painting, “Phallacies of Life,” mixed media is an assembly of discarded commodities. Her works explore different structural ideas of commodities such as mortality, existence in the realm of the commodity, educational systems and wealth systems surrounding ownership.
Smith mimics desire in consumption by playing with the idea that the need to purchase becomes something that is as fulfilling as one’s sexual need.
“The items become our pleasure points for gratification, and so they take the form in the phallic, and it spills with this material that’s meant to intrigue and beguiles a viewer into not being able to recognize the hollowness that’s concealed within it,” Morgan explained.”It all has to do with the realm of commodity, but it’s also analyzing the systems that are producing the commodity. The systems that are encouraging it to keep going.”
The pieces in this body of work, work together, play off each other; some are stand-alone, some are wall to floor, some on the wall, but all of the pieces are very sculptural. When joined together, the artifacts lose their functionalism.
“It’s all about desire,” she said. “And, I try to remove the functionalism of the artifact that I’m using, and I replace them with this sort of purposeless idea to uncover the absurdity and asininity of the hyper-commodity. This idea that we have to earn more, buy more, and sell more in order to be more. I am trying to take a stance against all of that and stress the need for an authentic human experience.”
“Delusions of Grandeur” opening reception is May 21 at Cedar House Gallery 122 E. 36th St. Food and beverages will be provided to guests, and masks are required. The show will be on display from May 21- May 23 with a live and online artist talk on May 22 from 12 p.m.-2 p.m.