VISUAL ARTIST STATEMENT
Morgan Cristine Flores
b. Los Angeles/ 1981
Lives/works in America
What I’m doing is: Investigating Painting. I know it sounds like a total lie, but I think this is the actual truth. Painting is so -forever- for me, and I know it’s because of my abuela, though we never called her that. She was “Nana,” and it was always a ‘foreign’ word to me too, and it made me feel shy to tell the kids at school. Though I was a mixed Mexican-American in California, and maybe no one would care. Anyway, My Nana, Armida, she always painted landscapes and her children and romantic scenes, and her paintings filled every surface of her walls in her studio apartment in LA. Whenever I started painting, it was no big deal, like, just like breathing, or eating, or dancing, or singing, but in the best feeling ways ever.
I wish it was just that easy, that all you had to do was love painting and just paint and sell the paintings and that’s it. But so much caca gets in the way. You can love Picasso and Dali and your white boyfriend can get so jealous, and you have to get away, and then you catch your breath and fall in love Matisse and Guston and Gorky (you love Gorky most), but your life is really saved by Rufino Tamayo, but then there’s some other (white) guy messing with you and you have to hide again. Sometimes you learn to make “paintings” with whatever is around you, and this still feels really good, and so you wonder what else you can “paint” with. Then, -nameless slob- talks crap about Mexicans on TV; beautiful people who look like your family are hunted in a Walmart; or a pandemic hits and you don’t know what the point is of painting. You want to paint to defend your communities but you are an impatient painter and the land is crying too, and again, what is the point? But. Somehow, that pinprick of the hope of painting bursts through, that stubborn love, the one of paint and how it’s about freedom, joy, and being the Goddess of something, and how it always reminds you of your heart.
My art practice is based on my love of painting and how I want to know everything about it. My practice aims to anchor me to wherever I am, and to give me enjoyable activities to soothe my mind, and meaningful things to learn about. I begin by observing the land around me and everyday life, and I research the history of where I am and of Chicanx and Latinx people in the U.S., and my personal history too. I am inspired by Modernist painters, Mexican and Latinx Artists, as well as punk rock, grunge, environmentalism, and pride. I collect images, objects and thoughts based on my excavation and then I organize and categorize my collections and weave everything back on itself. I see each piece as a brushstroke, and I create constructions in 2D or 3D. My bodies of work change depending on where I am, what materials are available to me, and what is concerning me at the time. With my work, I aim to seek reconciliation in my own way, in waving a flag of “here is me and my feelings and the things I care about and the things that make me laugh in spite of it all,” for whatever it is worth to anyone else seeing what I do.
Photo by Trace Manuel