Missoula Independent

Crystal Morey creates a new mythology of the West at Radius Gallery 

This month’s show at the Radius Gallery, Compositions, is an incredibly curated collection of work by four artists that creates a space reminiscent of the magical woods in a fairytale. The trees are free-standing sculptures by Trey Hill, washed with layers of thinned underglaze and water that’s been allowed to run and blend in greens and blues. Catherine Earl’s large depictions of geese and foxes make deep shadows even as their forms, in blue-gray washes and light paint splatters, evoke fresh, dense air.

The characters in this storied place are introduced by two artists: Jennifer Eli French of Billings and Crystal Morey of Oakland. French’s dreamlike Renaissance-style portraits of animal-human hybrids are stern but colorful. She plays with images of twins, burning houses, tigers in lady’s gowns and women with Miller moth crowns.

Three enchanting pieces by Morey are set on pedestals around the room. They are visually captivating white porcelain figurines depicting hybrids of human and animal bodies. There’s a bust of a woman with antlers, her delicate face directed to stare into your own. Two female-bodied nudes with long, delicately rendered fingers recline in languid postures, each topped with the full bulk of an oversized animal head: One a bison, the other a fox, whose pointed fur flattens and transforms into light foliage creeping down her belly.

These sculptures are nostalgic of the fantasy novels I buried myself in as a kid in eastern Montana. Talking animals, fairies and fauns—I used to pray to God for a pegasus. These stories captivated me, out there on the dry prairie. Our most interesting wildlife was the invisible bobcat, and, while we regularly rode horses, it was almost always to work cows in the heat of August or dead-cold of winter. I lived for the moment that my dad’s sway-backed bay, Bill, would turn to me and ask my help in his escape.

This yearning dominated my childhood but became tragic when I grew up and realized the effect humans like myself have on real creatures. Morey works to reveal that tragedy by putting endangered animals’ heads on human bodies. “I want us to visualize ourselves as another species and how that would feel,” she says. “If that were the case, would we treat the land around us differently? Would we be more aware of our actions?”

In her early work, Morey concentrated on depicting animals made extinct by human influence since the Industrial Revolution, such as the Western Black Rhino and Baiji river dolphin. Her animal vocabulary has expanded since then, and she now looks more generally at animal species most affected by human activity, even if they aren’t technically endangered.

Her choice to use Western animals in these particular pieces works well to spark that empathy. Because these animals are familiar, the story feels present here, as our dry mountain ranges burn and fill the valley with smoke. Each human body in her sculptures seems like a curse on the animal, posing a narrative in which people like us are made to reckon with the damage we’ve done.

The bison, depicted in her piece, “New Symbiosis: North American Bison,” is a part of the great American mythology; we came, we saw, we took. We gathered our guns and our men killed millions of them, piling their skulls into towering pyramids to plant a booted foot onto and pose, stoney faced, for a photograph.

That animal is more of this land than we are, but seen so rarely it’s almost like a magical beast. The breathless effort to bring the bison back ironically seals the deal that humans continue to be at the helm of their survival. This is the symbiosis in the piece’s title—the strange new relationship between us and the animal world.

Morey says she finds it interesting that nature, and how we relate to it, is depicted consistently throughout art history. Think of deer and stallions in Renaissance paintings, Van Gogh’s trees and even Andy Warhol’s “Silver Clouds.” (Though they were shiny foil, he was thinking of the natural world.)

Crystal Morey’s mythical creatures are quiet and lovely but they resonate in a big way. Compositions centers on a magical universe, but at the heart of it, the pieces force us to think about human nature and reckon with the decisions we have made in the real world.

Compositions continues at the Radius Gallery through September 23.

Abmeyer + Wood

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I am so happy to share Entangled Wonders, a new collection of work on view with Abmeyer +Wood! The exhibition is so lovely, if you find yourself in Seattle, please stop by! Also find the work available online.

Crystal Morey’s ability to sculpt porcelain is remarkable. She draws inspiration from Egyptian, Greek, and Roman deities and Native American creation stories that result in her exquisitely sculpted animal-human hybrids. Morey’s sculpture illustrates the interdependency between human and animal worlds and the delicate balance necessary to sustain this bond.

Abmeyer + Wood, 1210 2nd Ave. Seattle, Wa
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Entangled Wonders, Solo Exhibition

Entangled Wonders – Abmeyer + Wood

1210 2nd Avenue Seattle WA 98101

March 2nd through April 1st 2017

Open: Monday – Saturday, 11am – 6pm

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In our time, humankind has become the driving influence and force behind natural evolution, with the ability to alter life from a single cell all the way up to entire ecosystems. Through these actions we are leaving vulnerable species and habitats frantic, facing disruptions and uncertain outcomes. In my work I explore these ideas while also creating an evocative and mysterious narrative that shows our interdependence with the land and animals around us.

“Entangled Wonders” explores an imaginary landscape expanding a dialogue of climate change, the manipulation of evolutionary processes, and where our actions may lead. In this new land, a great shift has unfolded and we find the earth in a state of imbalance. In order to continue, humans and animals have become one, intricately and physically bound together, dependent on each other with a new ability to restore natural life. This alternate world reminds us of our connection to the plants and animals around us, that we are all part of one interwoven ecosystem, supporting and growing together for the long-term health of our world.

Sculpted from the silken white earth of porcelain, I see these delicate figures as containing power, as modern talismans and precious telling objects. They see a heightened vision of human influence in the natural world and are here to remind us of our current trajectory and the precarious dependencies we all share.

Beautiful Bizarre Feature

Thank you to Beautiful Bizarre Magazine and writer Anmarie Soucie for this lovely article, interview and images! This feature is a great representation of my ideas, process and overall vision in my work! Showcasing my upcoming work for Bitter | Sweet in Australia and my upcoming solo exhibition at Abmeyer + Wood in Seattle! You can find the article HERE, let me know what you think!

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SOFA Chicago

Join me in Chicago with Abmeyer + Wood for the SOFA Expo!

Events start the night of November 3rd with a collector preview and run though Sunday, November 6th! Abmeyer + Wood has an amazing group of sculptors on view, including Erika Sanada, Calvin Ma, Christopher David White, Patti Warashina and myself, join us! SOFA is a gallery presented art fair dedicated to 3D art and design and will be in full force at Navy Pier.delicate-dependency-a-struggle-of-two-paths-1

SITKA – Portland, Oregon

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Public Exhibit and Sale

November 5 – 6, 2016

Saturday & Sunday, 10-4pm
Admission: Adults $5 – Sitka Members free – Under 18 free
Located in Miller Hall at the World Forestry Center.

4033 SW Canyon Road
Portland, Oregon
Call Sitka: 541-994-5485

Experience nature-inspired artwork in a variety of mediums and interpretations. Our 23rd annual Art Invitational will showcase 350+ works of sculpture, ceramics, paintings, metalwork, glass, fiber arts, book arts and prints, by more than 130 Northwest artists. The event kicks off with a party with the artists on Friday evening. Sales are shared 50/50 which helps support the Northwest art community as well as Sitka’s programs.

Click here for details or to purchase tickets.

Delicate Dependencies @ Modern Eden Gallery

“Delicate Dependencies” continues my exploration into the intricate and complex relationships we all share with the land and animals around us. Made of hand build porcelain, these pieces depict endangered and impacted species, leaves and human bodies; all meant to show that we are all connected and interdependent.

Delicate Dependencies – Modern Eden Gallery

Solo Exhibition – Crystal Morey

801 Greenwich – San Francisco, CA

Opening Reception: October 14th 6 to 9, 2016October 14th through the 29th – Open Wednesday through Saturday, 12pm – 6pm

Crystal Morey in Hi Fructose

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I could not be happier or more honored, thank you Hi Fructose for the amazing feature! It is beautifully written with some of my favorite images! Thank you to Annie Owens for the interest and to Jeff Min for your very thoughtful words! I am delighted to be in this excellent publication alongside some of my favorite contemporaries. Volume 41 is officially out October 1st, be sure to find your very own, it is an incredible issue!

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Crystal Morey in Hey Magazine

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Thank you to HEY Magazine for my lovely feature! I am so happy to have six beautiful pages of thoughtful text and great images in this amazing Parisian publication! If you are not familiar, be sure the check out this great magazine of modern art and pop culture! 1/2 French and 1/2 English, beautifully designed, a great curation of creators, and wonderful writings! Thank you so much to Anne & Julian for interviewing me I am so honored!

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