Morgan Ford Willingham: The States Project: Kansas
Morgan Ford Willingham‘s work is poignant and thoughtful. She masterfully combines portraiture, text, and materials to create works of art that are delicate but potent in their critique of contemporary culture. Morgan questions how the cosmetics industry, media, and advertising affects the way we identify others and ourselves. Through a series of self-portraits, she captures her own likeness with humility, power, and grace. This is a rarity, and difficult territory to navigate, considering the never-ending wave of selfies that nourish a photographic cult of narcissism. Her work is image-based, sculptural, and performative. The final product is a series of photographic prints that seduce us with their subtle beauty and then shake us with powerful content.
Morgan Ford Willingham is a photographic artist and educator. After receiving an MFA in photography with a minor in Intermedia from Texas Woman’s University, she moved to the Midwest to pursue a career in academia and art making. Morgan examines how identity is shaped by advertising and societal pressures through the use of various mediums, incorporating photography, book arts, and installation. She has exhibited her work nationally, including two solo shows in the fall of 2016, and her work is housed in several public and private collections. Morgan currently holds the position of assistant professor of photography at Emporia State University, located in the Flint Hills of Kansas.
The Beauty Mask
This on-going series explores how natural beauty is masked by cosmetics that women use every day, and how the language of advertising is absorbed into the subconscious, where it constantly influences what women buy and how they perceive themselves. The text in this work is appropriated from advertising slogans found in popular women’s magazines, and is often difficult to read, signifying how the linguistics of advertising subconsciously attempts to persuade women to buy cosmetic products that alter their physical appearance. The repetition of phrases throughout the work alludes to the repetitive nature of cosmetic rituals many women partake in on a daily basis. It is intended that a sense of familiarity be experienced with these images.
In the newest phase of this series, the work focuses on addressing the history of the female, Renaissance portrait. The portraits, often commissioned by a father or spouse, represented, not the physical beauty of its sitter but the wealth and stature of the commissioner. The self-portrait is used to investigate the various experiences of using cosmetics to commodify beauty, like how physical appearance is altered in order to receive acceptance in society.
The series consists of metallic c-prints. The use of material symbolizes the application of various cosmetic products on the skin, the way in which advertising is absorbed by the subconscious, and the choice individuals make in how they reveal or conceal themselves.
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Marydorsey Wanless: The States Project: KansasOctober 30th, 2016
Adam Long: The States Project: KansasOctober 29th, 2016
Mike Sinclair: The States Project: KansasOctober 28th, 2016
Elise Kirk: The States Project: KansasOctober 27th, 2016
Morgan Ford Willingham: The States Project: KansasOctober 26th, 2016