Davis Morton

 

ARTIST'S STATEMENT

 

 As a painter I have never known how to describe myself by any one particular phrase or label.Having borrowed from many disciplines, all I have ever tried to be is a school of one as an individual.But when I attempt to describe my work to other people; labels are inescapable.

†††† At close inspection my paintings do contain elements of both Classic Realism and Impressionism.Lacking a better term, I have called myself a Realist / Impressionist.To me this is a reasonable description for my style or technique but it does not describe the spirit of my work.

†††† My goal has never been to paint reality just the way it looks and I have never tried to paint my initial impression of it.Without consciously trying to direct my own perspective, it seems my view has always come from the other end of the spectrum.I have been trying to paint reality the way my subconscious sees it.

†††† Acknowledging this dependence on my subconscious view I tried calling myself a Surrealist.But with no flaming feet or melting clocks in my paintings and no succinct explanation, this new label only made an understanding on my work more difficult.Although I don't think of myself as being a Classic Surrealist either, what follows is an explanation of the connection that I see.

†††† My most poignant dreams have not been nightmares.They come with soft distortions and muted sounds instead of screams.Whether this qualifies me as being a Surrealist or not, this is the way I paint.

†††† Rather than the Surrealism of Dali or Magritte, I feel closer to the Surrealism of Edward Hopper or Vermeer.By filtering the reality of their own times through inner vision, they both said something about time itself, without a dependence on the fantastic or grotesque.Their work is strong because itís subtle.Like them, I don't paint my dreams and I don't invent my own dream-like images.But I do use dreams as a reference, along with another conscious phenomena, that taps my subconscious view directly.

†††† To me, memories often seem like dreams.When we think of a childhood home, we may remember the image of our first room, the yard, events, etc.With effort, many other details surface that seemed forgotten.But many times, the most vivid memories of such a place are spontaneous and unsolicited. They come in a flash of recognition, with almost photographic clarity, and like odd dreams, the conscious mind may dismiss these images as being weird or insignificant.Rather than remembering things that we deem worthwhile, sometimes things emerge that defy our sense of logic

†††† Instead of visualizing the "Norman Rockwell" dinner scene that we might want to see our subconscious mind might represent that moment with the image of a gravy ladle or the empty corner of a room.It might be the image of an obscure plastic chair, rather than the Sistine Chapel, that makes us feel like we are still on a recent trip to Rome.

†††† My unsolicited memories not only look like the dreams I have, they serve the same larger purpose.Everything from the subconscious mind is an affirmation that we are actually seeing more of our reality than we think.Using my subconscious as a guide, I take photographs of things that strike me in a similar way.Then I use these images and my drawings to do my paintings.If a waiter from France would do better in New York, I'll put him there.If a distortion or mistake suits its' space, it is left uncorrected or it may even be enhanced.

†††† Both in the mechanics of what I do and in my thoughts, I do my best to let openness direct my actions instead of intellect.I don't want the shallowness that comes from trying to be deep.But I am also not waiting for a Zen-like trance or inspiration.Being open, I am free to think while the painting follows its' own direction.

†††† I enjoy trying to analyze why I liked my composition to begin with, or why the significance of a simple object changes when it's painted.I am intrigued by other things that almost can't be changed, like the odd stillness of something that should be moving or a certain likeness that looks like someone else.

†††† Often unexpected elements become important symbols while I'm painting while preconceived ideas just disappear.But the thoughts I have when I am painting never seem to take me closer to what my painting actually means.Just as in the best of dreams, I know I've done my best work when my final message is a mystery to me.

†††† What I don't try to say in my paintings has always been much clearer.I have never tried to make a social statement, or to teach anyone something.I don't try to amuse or shock anyone and I have never tried to paint a "charming frozen moment."

†††† Although I still can't find an acceptable label or description for myself, I do have a good idea of what I want my work to be.I want it to be like a living moment, with a past, a present, and a future that moves on unresolved saying something indistinct.Rather than trying to paint reality just the way it looks or painting my impression of it, I would like my paintings to say something of its' essence.I would like my work to haunt.

 

 

BIOGRAPHICAL INFORMATION

 

     Davis W. Morton IV spent his childhood in Bronxville, New York and in Chevy Chase, Maryland.  He went to private boarding schools in New York and in Towson, Maryland until getting married at the age of sixteen.  At that time Morton started painting seriously, working full time and going to high school then college at night.

     Of the twenty years he spent as a policeman in Montgomery County, Maryland, Morton was a Detective for fourteen years working in the homicide, sex and robbery sections.  He worked several years undercover and was also the police artist for eighteen years.

     Since the early 1990's Morton has been able to devote all of his time to painting as his sole career.

 

EDUCATION

 

     Due to early responsibilities, Morton was unable to attend art school.  Other than one anatomy course, taken from Frank Wright at George Washington University, Morton is a self-taught artist.

     He received a Bachelor of Arts Degree in English Literature from the University of Maryland.

     Since 1975 he has traveled yearly to visit the galleries and museums of Europe, Asia, South America and Africa to further his education.

 

GALLERIES / AFFILIATIONS / EXHIBITIONS  (partial listing)

"American Arts Quarterly" Magazine (article published, Winter 2002)

"American Artist" Magazine (article, December 2000)

"America's Most Wanted" Washington, DC  (six appearances and drawings aired)

Antreasian Gallery, Baltimore Md. (show July 2005) www.antreasiangallery.com

Art Effects Gallery, Merion, PA.

Arts Club of Washington, Washington, DC  (show 1997)

Art Network Group, Bethesda, MD (publisher)

The Athenaeum, Alexandria, VA  (Realism show 2001)

The Atlanta Gallery, Atlanta, Georgia

Baltimore Choral Arts Society, Baltimore, MD  (show 2001)

"Baltimore Magazine" ("Thames Street" published in article September 2005)

"The Beacon" (article in Baltimore issue March of 2009)

Beresford Gallery, Boyds, MD and Saratoga, New York

Capricorn Gallery, Bethesda, MD

CNN "Wolf Blitzer Reports" (Live interview, October 2002)

Cudahy's Gallery, Richmond, VA

David Adamson Editions, Washington, DC

Fine Arts and Artists, Washington, DC

Fellus Gallery, Washington, DC

Fisher Gallery, Washington, DC  (show 1997)

Foxhall Gallery, Washington, DC

Hemphill Fine Arts, Washington, DC

"Hillrag" Magazine ("Tango #2 appeared on cover, February 2005)

Joseph Keiffer Inc., New York, New York  (Agent)

La Petite Galerie, Annapolis, MD

Mckissick Museum, Columbia, SC  ( shows1999, 2001 Norrell collection)

North Dakota Museum of Art  (show 2001)

Ontogeny, Potomac, MD  (Phyllis Beek-Agent)

Occidental Grill, Washington, DC  (show May 2001)

Pandion Gallery, Fishers Island, New York  ("Sporting Art" show)

Paper - Rock - Scissors Gallery, Baltimore MD

Portrait Representatives, Towson, MD  (Jean Trout-Agent)

Rablen West Gallery, Vero Beach, Florida  ("Polo Paintings" show)

Somerville-Manning Gallery, Greenville, Delaware

"US Artists" show, Philadelphia, PA  (Joseph Keiffer)

Veerhoff Gallery, Washington, DC

White Canvas Gallery, Richmond, VA  www.whitecanvasgallery.com 

WTTG-FOX NEWS (Live interview, October 2002)

Zenith Gallery, Washington, DC  www.zenithgallery.com 

 

     Presently, Morton is represented by the Zenith Gallery in Washington, DC, the Atlanta Gallery in Atlanta, Georgia and La Petite Galerie in Annapolis, Maryland.