LA-based artist Aaron Morse is having an epic end to 2011. In just a few weeks he’ll have three years worth of work unveiled in a two-part show opening, first at Country Club Projects and then at ACME (see details below). Naturally, we were thrilled when last week he took over the 6th Street Mural with a site-specific painted collage entitled Formation Mural. Aaron kindly took some time to fill us in on collage, context, the 6th Street canyon and what’s in store at his upcoming shows.
The Standard: How did you get started working in collage?
Aaron Morse: The use of collage in art is very broad and goes in many directions. I like to use collage pictorially, that is assembling many pictures into a convincing whole that is spacially interesting and contains information that can be “read.” Part of developing as an artist is recognizing the speed and manner in which you work best, and collage is just my speed. In addition to traditional painting and collage techniques, I use a camera and computer in my compositions and this gives my paintings and murals an unusual, hybrid quality.
Does using existing images contribute to the meaning or interpretation of your work? Do they provide context that would not be possible otherwise?
Absolutely. Pictures are the result of technology and tell a story about the era and tools with which they are made. Ours is the age of information and a time when our culture is still coming to terms with the end of analog and the arrival of digital. I recently made two wall-sized collages that depict a “Timeline of History” from the Big Bang to the future. This format has been used by artists, scientists, historians and others for a long time and is a useful idea to make a complex, collage-based picture. For The Formation Mural at The Standard I adapted the Earth’s formation section from my collage to show the powerful geological forces at work on the planet.
Did you create site specific work for the 6th Street Mural? Was this the same for your installation at the Hammer? How does the space effect the outcome?
The site and its composition are always the first consideration. Sixth Street resembles a slot canyon to me, and the surging waters are the pedestrian and vehicle traffic coming down the hill. I didn’t do it consciously, but my mural taps into this rhythm of movement on the street. The action of the cars, bikes, and people unfolds in a similar way as the action unfolds in the mural.
The space where The Hammer Mural was installed is much larger and has three walls that make a sequence. As an interior, contemplative space it is possible to create a more painterly and drawn out experience. The Standard mural is on a fast street and was made to reflect that scale and speed.
How does having work in a public space differ from a museum or gallery exhibition?
I suppose the main difference is that the audience for a museum or gallery is self selecting and art in a public space exposes itself to anyone who enters the vicinity. It’s powerful when people experience visual situations they were not expecting or anticipating.
What’s next for you?
I have a two-part show opening in November with ACME. and Country Club, both Los Angeles galleries. I’ll be showing the oversized collages, new paintings, and a wallpaper installation. It’s the culmination of nearly three years work so I’m very excited to share it.
The Humanity Panel, Wallpaper installation at Country Club located at 7561 Sunset Blvd. Los Angeles, CA 90046. November 18th through December 17th, 2011. Opening Friday, November 18th 7-9pm. Visit CountryClubProjects.com
Earth from Space: Paintings, watercolors and large collages at ACME is located at Los Angeles, 6150 Wilshire Blvd, Los Angeles, California 90048. November 19th through December 21st, 2011. Opening Saturday, November 19th 6-8pm. Visit AcmeLosAngeles.com