Heather Morgan is known for her expressive, sometimes self-effacing self-portraits that toy with notions of intimacy and exhibitionism at once. Her most recent body of work, however, shows the painter taking turns both inward and outward—inward to the mind and heart, that is, and outward in terms of subjects. Still juicily painterly and rendered in a limited palette of warm grisaille, Morgan’s newest compositions portray not her physical self, but rather a suite of characters—musicians and writers, by and large, from the current to the canonical—who feed her soul and inform her creative practice. Literary icons like Baudelaire and Artaud are in her esteemed, passionately rendered mix of subjects, but so are less recognizable ‘saints and sinners’ you might nonetheless identify as rock stars. In these rich depictions, Morgan conjures and communes with the specters of those who most inspire her. They are luminous homages full of tenderness and sincerity.
Alongside Heather Morgan’s calmly spirited portraits will be works by Paul D’Agostino, an artist who shares Morgan’s passions for literature and interdisciplinary inspiration, and whose works are always informed by matters of language, storytelling and translation. Foofaraw & Spleen will feature a selection of his works on paper, drawing primarily from The Produce Chronicles, With Flowers, D’Agostino’s ongoing series of individually narrated, vignette-like watercolor renderings conceived as a book project. The couple dozen sheets chosen for the show—out of around 140 the artist has completed to date—evidence the range of humor, sentimentality and sometimes raunchy buffoonery that characterize the project.