Blue Star Contemporary Art Museum combines faculty member’s work with similar styled artist.
By Hannah Norman
Fine arts adjunct Charlie Morris is sharing an exhibition until Feb. 7 with Austin artist Liz Rodda at the Blue Star Contemporary Art Museum in “Turn Your Face Towards the Sun.”
Mary Heathcott, Blue Star executive director, and Jack McGilvrey, exhibitions and programs manager, reviewed Morris and Rodda’s applications for the Blue Star Contemporary Open Call for the 2014-15 exhibition, said Inessa Kosub, public affairs and engagement manager at Blue Star.
Heathcott and McGilvrey found a parallel in their work that inspired the two-person exhibition, Kosub said.
Rodda is an Austin-based multimedia artist and assistant professor at Texas State University School of Art and Design. She works with different genres, materials and models and has presented her work in galleries across Texas, London, Florida and New York.
Both artists explore contemporary assemblage, but Morris focuses on his experiences with nature while he walks the streets of wherever he is traveling.
Morris started exploring art in middle school, where he learned how to express himself through images, metaphors and objects.
“Going back to my childhood, this is a way of expressing myself outside of spoken language,” Morris said.
Morris attended the Yale University School of Art and Design, earned a bachelor of fine arts at The University of Texas at Austin and a master of fine arts at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. He teaches drawing, design, painting, art history and digital art.
“There’s a separation I suppose, between what I do as a teacher. It’s a means of getting by,” Morris said. “Doing shows like this is a part of what I do as an artist.”
Art Palace, an art gallery at 3913 Main St. in Houston, frequently displays Morris’ work. His most recent show there was “Tripping on Pebbles…Sinking in Stone,” which ran from May to July 2014.
He has showcased in the Netherlands, Iceland, Mexico City, Scotland, Texas and Spain.
“Turn Your Face Towards the Sun” also explores found objects and themes ranging from social oppression and violence to police brutality and drones, he said.
His installation “Intangible Ghostly Surprise” is a wood sculpture of a planchette commonly used for Ouija boards, two photographs, a plastic wolf mask and a torn piece of cardboard with a tire print.
Separately, the found items don’t seem to mean much, but when put together in a controlled setting, the piece becomes a commentary on the environment and animal cruelty.
The installation represents absence, wastefulness and encroaching on animal rights, he said.
“We need to listen to our ancestors, in a kind of general way,” Morris said. “What we’re doing to the planet, animals. I love the found mask, because by context I made it mine.”
Morris finds objects to take photos of and pick up while he explores.
He prefers to walk rather than drive because inspiration comes from the environment he finds himself in, he said.
“You see more social inequity on the street and in the city,” Morris said. “Sometimes you can hear it as well.”
“Turn Your Face Towards the Sun” runs through Feb. 7.
For more information, contact Morris at 832-882-6660.