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Professor exhibits work in Texas, Arkansas
April 16, 2012
Art Professor Thomas Morrissey is exhibiting “Snippets: Juxtapositions in No Particular Order” at the Arkadelphia Art Center, located outside of Little Rock, Ark., through April 27 in a show hosted by Ouachita Baptist University. The exhibition previously was on display in the Whatley Arts Center at the Texas A&M, NTCC Mount Pleasant, Texas, campus.
Morrissey said “Snippets” is “a rather random selection of images from separate parts of the world, of cultures … people, places and things that have been framed by my eye and captured through my camera lens. Images that may somehow help map my journey as I wonder at God’s creation.”
A coffee table-sized book that includes many of the images contained in these exhibitions, “Snippets Part One,” recently has been published by Blurb Publishing and is available from the Blurb Bookstore in both print and as e-book formats.
Morrissey also presented his work at the Popular Culture Association Conference in Boston last week.
“The images depict a consistency in my photographic vision, while spanning a range of visual philosophy reaching from the abstract to the documentary, from manipulation to unaltered images, from the human portrait to mechanical geometric forms. Capturing what I refer to as the ‘snippets’ of daily life,” he said.
These images represent the beginning of an editing project marking a 40-plus-year engagement with the medium of photography and art. A visual investigation of this duration produces a deep archive of images that must be contextualized, subdivided and organized into select bodies of work. The selection process will ultimately culminate in the form of books, exhibitions and collections of images extracted from his life’s work as an artist. A documentary film of Morrissey’s work in time-based media also is planned, as much of the work in these exhibitions was created while producing video clips and still photography for several NGOs around the globe.
In selecting the work for this exhibition, several considerations became apparent, including issues of framing and mounting the work in a way that would best address the space in which they would be exhibited. However, Morrissey said that “one more subtle issue became apparent in discovering which images to include: creating a body of work from which I, as the creator of these images, can learn.”
Consequently, the notion of producing an exhibition of work that has, as a binding mechanism, the glue of an obvious visual contextual similarity was thrown out early on. The challenge became to address the exhibition from other, more philosophical constraints – constraints that capitalize on the absence of any obvious thematic glue.
“The primary constraints I placed upon myself were to limit the pool from which these images were selected to relatively ‘recent’ camera work and to images that I had not previously drawn from or exhibited. Much of the archive of images I have never personally drawn as “art,”’ he said.
“This approach opened a door that afforded me the opportunity to include a selection of images that can lead one in varying visual directions; images that are conceptually and visually diverse but share the uniform, God-given vision that I, as the artist/image-maker provide.”
The work in this exhibition is being developed as part of Morrissey's sabbatical project outcome. “The outcome of this sabbatical leave will be the result of the overlap that occurs between professional work as a practicing artist and the translation of this experience to my classroom through the transfer of my active professional practices in the studio,” he said.
Morrissey’s sabbatical project is to further enhance his professional abilities and develop curriculum units for inclusion in the Art Department’s growing program in digital art and photography by developing methods that will better optimize the new Macintosh computer lab at the Flanagan Campus, which has standardized the digital platform the Art Department uses collegewide.
Selections from this work also will be displayed in several venues in Rhode Island, including the CCRI art galleries during the upcoming academic year. Much of the work included in these exhibitions has been created and produced with financial assistance, grants and awards from Partners of the Americas; W. K. Kellogg Foundation; the Fulbright Foundation; and the Charles Sullivan Fund for the Arts and Humanities.