Fresh Contemporary Digest: Interview with artist Morgan Ward

ArtMaze Mag always welcomes contributions from emerging artistic blogs run by artists, and here is one of them: below you will find an interview with a London-based abstract artist Morgan Ward who was recently interviewed by artist Samantha Keith from the US who runs Fresh Contemporary Digest, an emerging and established artist platform.

“I have always retained an interest in the concept of the painting’s picture plane, and significantly, how this can be manipulated. In my practice I aim to investigate the relationships between colour and the interaction of forms. Questioning how one might choose to fill the space of a canvas as an object, and whether paintings can communicate and inform themselves. A key aspect is the expansion of a space, both physically and as an abstract illusion.

I have adopted and developed a practice that allows me to constantly interrogate problems and outcomes. Persistently working from preliminary studies in a sketchbook and allowing them to inform, but not dictate, my paintings.  Thinking about communication between paintings and how paintings can be viewed as an object in space, not just a flat surface that reacts only with the eyes. Wanting the paintings to interact as a body of work, interconnecting within itself, translating forms and using colour suggestively to signify space and build these networks.  Using the space around a painting to play an equal role in how the painting is consumed by the viewer as the content of the picture plane. Where a painting begins and where it ends, your entry point of a painting, and where you are allowed to enter a painting. How adjacent space can alter how paintings communicate and how the viewer can be manipulated in a space to react a certain way towards specific works.” – Morgan Ward.

SK: I’d like to start by asking a bit about you: where did you attend school and where are you based?

MW: I recently completed my BA Fine Art Hons at the University of Chichester. I now live and work back at my home in South East London.

SK: When did you first decide you wanted to pursue a career in art?

MW: I’ve always had in interest in art and especially painting.  Throughout my degree the need to produce painting and to investigate the internal relationships within the stretcher’s frame grew stronger and became a necessity.

SK:How do you think your work has evolved into your current style? Did you always create similar imagery or has it been a transitional experience?

MW: I had previously been consumed by a series of work that was heavily portrait based. This work used representation of self-image as a sort of “containing” form for contrasting formal elements of painting, colour form line space, to work in complex interrelation. I battled to deconstruct the representation into abstraction of a form, it was a huge turning point in my work when I finally let go of the representation and placed all my attention towards the concept of expansive space, physically and as an illusion. By removing the false illustrative embodiment and representation the forms became shapes and edges and they now hold their own stance within the object of the canvas. I also found there was so much I had not yet considered or investigated in my work and it was a relief that I could finally hone all my thoughts towards this end. However, as expected, it has exposed numerous further researches into what my work is, how it performs, and what it is doing and of course leading onto what it could become.

SK: What kind of preliminary work, if any, do you do to prepare for the final piece? 

MW: I have adopted and developed a practice that allows me to constantly interrogate problems and outcomes. Persistently working from preliminary studies in a sketchbook and allowing them to inform, but not dictate, my paintings.  Working in oil pastel and collage I can articulate small visual references quickly, allowing my production of work to keep up with my train of thought.

SK: How would you describe your current body of work?

MW: I have always retained an interest in the concept of the painting’s picture plane, and significantly, how this can be manipulated. In my practice I aim to investigate the relationships between colour and the interaction of forms. Questioning how one might choose to fill the space of a canvas as an object, and whether paintings can communicate and inform themselves. A key aspect is the expansion of a space, both physically and as an abstract illusion.

Thinking about communication between paintings and how paintings can be viewed as an object in space, not just a flat surface that reacts only with the eyes. Wanting the paintings to interact as a body of work, interconnecting within itself, translating forms and using colour suggestively to signify space and build these networks.  Using the space around a painting to play an equal role in how the painting is consumed by the viewer as the content of the picture plane. Where a painting begins and where it ends, your entry point of a painting, and where you are allowed to enter a painting. How adjacent space can alter how paintings communicate and how the viewer can be manipulated in a space to react a certain way towards specific works.

SK: I know you recently graduated with your BA (honors!) in Fine Art, congratulations! Are you planning on doing any graduate programs in the future?

MW: After completing my BA I personally find it beneficial to give myself time away from education to grow, reflect and act upon what has been learnt. I hope to use this free academic year to self direct my time, gain experiences and develop my practice before returning to complete an MA in London.

SK: I also know you had a recent senior exhibition, ’33’ , how was that experience for you, can you tell me a little bit about the work and space? 

MW: I always wanted my work to play with and address the ideas of site. It intrigues me as to how work can change entirely depending on how it is hung, or where it is hung. By using the space around a painting I allow it to play an equal role in how the painting is encountered by the viewer as extends beyond the picture plane. The issues are now, where a painting begins and where it ends, your entry point of a painting, and where you are allowed to enter a painting. Space can alter how paintings communicate and how the viewer can be manipulated to react in a certain way towards specific works.  Each and every one of these thoughts must be considered before I even begin to hang my work.

SK: Thank you for taking the time to talk to me about your career and your work! Is there anything else you’d like to say to or share with our followers?

MW: I have a brand new website re-launch coming in soon, a whole new and fresh body of working coming from my studio and much much more, so please keep up to date on my Instagram: @morgan.ward.artist for all the latest news!

Find and follow more of Morgan Ward’s work at www.morganwardartist.com and on IG @morgan.ward.artist

Interview by Samantha Keith for Fresh Contemporary Digest.