Kristen Morgin, whose work is formed with a mixture of clay, glue, cement and other media, comes from a ceramic background but goes far beyond traditional uses of the medium. Her sculptures have an affinity to the constructions of George Herms, Edward Keinholz, and Michael McMillen, but evoke relics of contemporary culture that may have been buried and unearthed at a later date. Toys, books, comics and other objects are rendered true to scale in unfired clay and hearken back to the artist’s childhood. Corroding surfaces evoke mortality, decay and the passage of time. Eccentric narratives and playful juxtapositions come together to form new objects with unexpected connotations.
As Morgin states: "My works are delicate things that express the preciousness, nobility and stubborn-headedness of matter that resists its own inevitable demise in spite of its dilapidated condition and predestined downfall."
In The Bradys (Left to Right, Top to Bottom), 2015, for example, Brady Bunch characters are re-imagined through the faces of Neil Diamond, Cher, Doris Day and Madonna in a wall mounted tableaux of nine artist rendered record albums. The worn edges of a personal record collection and classic pop icons adorned with hand-painted cartoon stickers evoke nostalgia in the viewer. In Still Life with Woodpecker and Janet Leigh, 2017, a child’s toy guitar is paired with a famous Hitchcock scene to create an unsettling and dramatic juxtaposition.
Morgin was born in 1968 in Brunswick, Georgia. She completed her BA at California State University, Hayward, and her MFA at Alfred University. Morgin’s work is in the permanent collections of institutions such as Los Angeles County Museum of Art, San Francisco Museum of Modern Art, the Hammer Museum, the Museum of Contemporary Art, Miami, and The Rubell Family Collection. Her work has been included in exhibitions such as The Thing (Hammer Museum, Los Angeles), Monumental (New Museum, New York) and the Istanbul Biennial, curated by Jens Hoffman. She lives and works in Los Angeles.