Cameron Morgan was invited to take part in in a three day residency at ArtStudio 01 in pARTicipate in Shrewsbury at the start of April. Project Ability Technician Jim Ewen went along with him, and wrote this about their trip.
“Morgan and I were on the road again, going to Shrewsbury for a mini residency/conference/exhibition. Tanya Raabe-Webber, Jennifer Gilbert and Jackie Cooley have been researching studio provision for disabled artists by touring artist studios around the UK and beyond. This combined event was the result of the research, so on Friday the studio and exhibition was joined by visitors from the participating studios. There were chats, interviews, tea, live streams, watercolour workshops, lunch studio tours, talks, more tea and at the end, a portrait presentation. Artist studios can be empty, solitary and cold but when a community comes together they can fill it with energy. It was a great day hearing everyone’s story.
Shrewsbury has preserved a lot of its heritage. The Tudor buildings are very impressive and make exploring the old town exciting. We took a lot of photos and sampled a few ales along the way. With these images, Cameron started making his own interpretation of the buildings using paper and ink, charcoal and oil pastel. He could have spent a month painting this place as he loves the old architecture. He detests the new but there is a problem he doesn’t see: his rich colour version of a 16th Century Tudor house would never get past the town planners!
For the exhibition Morgan presented three new oil paintings of the Falkirk Wheel and straight from the kiln, his ceramic penguin brood. During one of the interviews he gave someone asked “Why penguins?” and he struggled to answer other than why not. Cameron has made a lot of ceramics and when a new subject has been chosen he’s not content unless a flock of puffins have been born or 20 cooked breakfasts fired up or finally the biggest bunch of keys have been carved and exhibited. So why penguins? No reason other than, everything he sees can be Morganised.
In the car, walking around, and having a beer together, Cameron talks about a lot of things, but he riles against modernity. It’s so confusing. His oils of the Falkirk wheel for instance are abstract modern pieces. He always says he prefers to recognise something in a picture, a bit of realism but most of the time his paintings can be as abstract as they come. Maybe he doesn’t know it, but he’s Morganised himself.
The residency was funded through Tanya Raabe-Webber’s Research And development in to Learning Disability Art Studios and best practice funded by Arts Council England.