LUMINOUS VISIONS: SCOTT MORGAN: 10,000 YEARS
This week on Lenscratch, we look at a selection of artists creatively engaging with analog photographic processes within their practice.
In Scott Morgan’s series 10,000 Years, light transforms rather than illuminates silver gelatin paper, rendering analog photographic evidence of a primal connection to the world around us. Morgan’s visual language is inspired by cave drawings, petroglyphs, and Tantric paintings, yet these pieces are unique mediations of timelessness and humanity’s deep relationship to the cosmos. With 10,000 years, Morgan expertly coerces the Sun’s rays to interact with the emulsion of the paper, creating a visual lexicon including; burns, ash, silver haze, and shimmering colors unfathomable in the darkroom. Not unlike early artifacts, these images serve as a connection to the unknown elements around us. The resulting objects are called “Suryagrams,” named after the Vedic god of the Sun; these alchemical compositions distill photography down to its fundamental element; light.
www.scottmorganart.com and @scottmorganart
The greek etymological root of photography is “drawing with light.” The Sun’s rays consist of photons – the elemental form of light and take 10,000 to 100,000 years to reach the earth’s surface. The light we see and take for granted, the foundation for life as we know it on our small planet is ancient beyond our comprehension. The 10,000 Years project explores this primordial light and the concept of time in a primary analog photographic process by heat etching directly onto silver gelatin papers. This alchemical process combines the Sun’s radiation and light-sensitive materials to create a new expression made of paper, metallic silver, gelatin, and ash. The work centers on fundamental mark-making with light bridging between ancient and modern presentations. The final pieces, called “Suryagrams,” named after the Vedic god of the Sun, and a unique process, are primal in texture and modern in expression, taking inspiration from cave drawings, petroglyphs, Tantric paintings, and cosmological explorations of both contemporary and timeless. 10,000 Years explores the photograph as an artifact, neither an image nor a shadow of an object; the work goes back to the basic definition of photography, light transforming matter.
Scott Morgan was born in Patuexent River Maryland in 1957. He studied painting, sculpture, photography and literature at the University of California, Santa Barbara on a scholarship for art and writing. He was deeply influenced by the California Light and Space school, the photographs of Minor White and Duane Michals and the paintings of Ad Reinhardt and Agnes Martin. He later traveled extensively throughout Europe, studying the great master painters of the renaissance and working as an assistant for a number of well-known fashion photographers.
At the same time he went deeply into his own art practice moving past the borders of image based photography with the Shiva portfolio in 1998, Earth Sutras 1998 and subsequently the Gates of Heaven series in 2000.
He later transitioned into a more conceptually based practice with For the Love Of, in 2002, a large installation exploring blood, faith and cosmological influence and One Hundred Days, 2004. In 2008, 2009 and 2010 Scott produced a number of significant works in a more global framework, projects on the edge of the great oceans, such as The Pilgrim Suite, and moving into video projects such as Siren, and The Center of the World.
He currently resides in Vancouver, British Columbia. His works continue to weave the deeply human experience, nature and a rich spiritual context. New works such as 10,000 Years, Cathedral, While You were Sleeping, and the new video installation and print series, The Stations, 2015 continue that focus.
Posts on Lenscratch may not be reproduced without the permission of the Lenscratch staff and the photographer.
Allen Morris: The Same Dirt + Silent SentinelsSeptember 28th, 2023
Ana Leal: Transitions and ThresholdsSeptember 11th, 2023
Iveta Lazdina: Silver Birches and Urban ConversationsJuly 14th, 2023
Ari Salomon: 6 Feet ApartJuly 10th, 2023
Mariah Robertson in Conversation with Douglas BreaultMay 17th, 2023