Jonathan Morse,

Pasatiempo - - The Spaces IN Between -

In a few im­ages, specif­i­cally from the Places and Realms se­ries, one can’t help but en­vi­sion cryp­tic aerial views of places un­known or dream­scapes. As they are to­tally ab­stract, one is left to con­sider the pic­tures’ for­mal el­e­ments and de­ci­pher from what planet — or uni­verse — these dig­i­tized land­scapes came. The hor­i­zon­tal for­mats and generic la­bel­ing of the se­ries nat­u­rally sug­gest land­scape.

The most di­rect ref­er­ence to some­thing rec­og­niz­able — and in­ten­tion­ally so — is seen in Dots No. 19, in which Morse has in­cluded an Alexan­der Calder-like mo­bile. “Calder was a ter­rific de­signer and en­gi­neer,” Morse said. “I had the priv­i­lege of see­ing a ret­ro­spec­tive of his work in Rome in 2009, and the work stuck with me. The dot idea came from see­ing a num­ber of frag­mented, old-fash­ioned bill­boards in Rome in which the graphic qual­ity of the print­ing process re­vealed a ma­trix of dots to make up the im­ages. The lat­ter part of the Dots se­ries is an homage to Calder.”

Born in Bed­ford, New York, Morse vis­ited Santa Fe in the sum­mer of 1979 and fell in love with its am­bi­ence and “saw the pos­si­bil­i­ties of liv­ing in a cre­ative com­mu­nity.” He moved here per­ma­nently the fol­low­ing year. By day, Morse is an at­tor­ney work­ing in me­di­a­tion and col­lab­o­ra­tive prac­tice. At night — and on most week­ends — his artis­tic en­deav­ors take cen­ter stage. He re­ceived his Master of Fine Arts in ex­per­i­men­tal and ex­tended pho­tog­ra­phy from the Visual Stud­ies Work­shop at the State Univer­sity of New York in Rochester, where he worked with Nathan and Nancy Lyons, but he is self-taught in dig­i­tal tech­nol­ogy. His work is held in a num­ber of pri­vate and pub­lic col­lec­tions, in­clud­ing the Mu­seum of Modern Art in New York, the In­ter­na­tional Mu­seum of Pho­tog­ra­phy at Ge­orge East­man House in Rochester, and the New Or­leans Mu­seum of Art. In 1977, he re­ceived a pho­tog­ra­phy fel­low­ship from the Mas­sachusetts Arts and Hu­man­i­ties Foun­da­tion.

Some may ques­tion the use of the term “orig­i­nals” in the ti­tle as an­ti­thet­i­cal to dig­i­tal imag­ing. But Morse ar­gued, “I use the dig­i­tal process as an orig­i­nal print­mak­ing medium — not for re­pro­duc­tion as is so of­ten the case with gi­clées. Nor do I use the medium as a dig­i­tal dark­room. I take pho­to­graphic de­tri­tus and trans­form it. I set off in a cer­tain di­rec­tion but let the cre­ative winds guide my voy­age rather than any pre­con­ceived ideas or mar­ket­ing plans. I work very fast and leave no bread crumbs be­hind to find my way back.”

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