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Paradigm Shift: Paintings by Margaret Morrison

Alan Flurry

The Lyndon House Arts Center presents the opening of Paradigm Shift: Paintings by Margaret Morrison, on June 8, 2023.  The exhibition, on view through September 1, 2023, includes a reception on Thursday, June 8 at 6 p.m. 

Morrison, professor of art and chair of Painting and Drawing in the Lamar Dodd School of Art, received a 2022 Willson Center Faculty Research grant for her proposal, “Paradigm Shift - A Theory of Enlightenment.” Coupled with a 2017 Willson Center grant, these projects resulted in a series of paintings investigating Caravaggio’s use of theatrical light that will be on display in the South Gallery at Lyndon House. 

Morrison and her collaborator, professor Anthony Marotta of the UGA department of theatre and film studies, explored various methods of stage choreography for the purpose of photographing and collecting reference images for the painted works. Resolving to include theater students in the project, Morrison created a script for Marotta and his students, which resulted in a stage performance directed by Marotta and documented by photographer, Gabrielle Rosenthal. The resulting collaboration provided Morrison with reference material for the new body of work, Paradigm Shift, a suite of 10 large oil paintings on canvas describing various stages of enlightenment from an awakening to transcendence. 

“My Paradigm Shift Series springs from the devastating sense of loss I felt when my belief system imploded, forcing me to build a new, and infinitely deeper foundation,” Morrison said. “The narrative in each painting traces the arc of my journey from naïve faith, through cataclysmic destruction and terrible sadness, to the reclamation of my inner peace through a personal epiphany.”

“The script wove together elements of Plato's cave allegory, James Fowler's Stages of Faith Transition and my own personal experiences. Anthony directed his students through an extemporaneous performance that was photographed by a photography student, photographs which then served as the reference material for my ten large scale paintings.”

The paintings in the series deal with moments of transcendental transformation as the subjects experience various stages of personal enlightenment. One of the final paintings in the series, "Transcendence," portrays the same lone figure. Having broken free from the dark dystopian realm, he lifts his face upward, seeking ultimate enlightenment.

A special gallery event for Paradigm Shift will be held on Thursday, August 24 at 6 p.m. 

The exhibition is free of charge and open to the public.

More information on Morrison's work is available from the Woodward Gallery.

Image: East of Eden, 2023, by Margaret Morrison. Oil on canvas, 48 x 60 inches


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