Crystal Morey is an American based artists whose delicate work in sculpture and drawing aims to explore human emotion and our relationship with nature. Intelligently portraying raw emotion and honesty in her work through images of open palmed hands and faces, Crystal is proving to be one of the most important figures of the ever expanding Oakland art scene.
We recently caught up with Crystal in order to find out what themes are behind her new body of work and what techniques are used when shes capturing emotion in her sculptures.
A lot of your work deals with human emotion and in a recent interview you stated that your work has become more and more introspective over the years. What mental processes do you go through in order to come up with the emotions you want to portray in a piece?
My work has actually been very introspective and personal in the past and has taken a different route lately. I have been working on a body of work that is dealing with emotion in relation to environment. I have been building sculptures with figures in full backgrounds and themes of natural cycles and man-made changes in nature.
I don’t know if I have a mental process I go through in order to portray emotion. I try not to think about how the figures in my work feel, I try to feel the emotions I want them to exude and show them in the body, face and hands.
When you have an emotion you want to portray in a piece, how do you then avoid letting your current mood and feeling effect the end result as you work on the piece over time?
I try to work really fast! If I have a new idea for a piece I try to start and finish sculpting within a week. I find that I lose ideas or an idea can be diluted even if I make detailed sketches. I like to work with vigor and potency and they both escape me if I wait to long.
In your landscape pieces you said that you have taken inspiration from, amongst other things, nature and memory. Is there any place in particular that has inspired your work recently? is this reflected in the piece?
I use imagery from nature to make statements about the environment and to give my figures a context. I spent my childhood living in the forest surrounded by tall trees, mountains, rocks, and streams. Nature is a reflective, quiet place for me, a space where my mind can wander and be contemplative. Nature is also a precious place, it is finite and ephemeral, I like to work with this idea as an over-arching theme.
You seem to get a lot of support from other artists, including John Casey who has photographed a number of your works. If you could collaborate with anyone either living or dead who would it be?
The Oakland art scene is really strong right now and filled with lots of new galleries and artists. There is a momentum and everyone is really involved. I have a lot of support from other artists in the area. We are all working towards the same goals and it is really motivating to work as a group or a movement.
I would love to collaborate with so many different artists for so many different reasons. I have found that in the past, when collaborating with other artists, that I learn so much about working with people and my own ideas. But if I had to come up with a short list of dream collaborators, I would have to include Kevin Taylor, Tiffany Bozic, Egon Schiele, Akio Takamori, Gian Lorenzo Bernini, and Jay Shafer from Tumbleweed Tiny Homes.
What’s the name of the exhibition you have coming up?
I am in several group shows that are coming up, although I am most excited about a solo exhibition at Rowan Morrison Gallery in Oakland this December. The name of the show is ‘March Into The Sea’ and deals with ideas about the death of nature.
December 2010 – www.rowanmorrison.com
I have a drawing at POVevolving opening August 7th www.povevolving.com
What’s the idea or theme behind your new body of work that you have prepared for the exhibition?
My intention is to explore the human experience of emotion, and its relationship with the environment. I want to study the tenuous, symbiotic balance between human necessities and the health of our natural habitat of forests, oceans, mountains, and deserts. Everyday we strengthen the disconnect between what we use in our lives, and the destructive effects it has on where we live, the air we breathe and the water we drink. We have made a departure from nature and the balance that should exist has been broken. In my work I want to reveal the ephemeral quality of human life and show our dependence on an increasingly delicate ecosystem.
Which of your new pieces are you most proud of in terms of how honestly it has reflected the emotion you have wanted to portray?
“The Long Wait” is a piece I am pretty happy with right now. The idea behind the work shows that in order for new life there must be death. This piece shows a cycle of disintegration and growth at the same time.
When working on that piece what were your working conditions? What environment do you have to be in, in order to capture the raw emotion in your sculptures?
I need quiet time in order to think and read about current events. I listen to National Public Radio for inspiration. I have ongoing ideas and stories that build and need regular working time in the studio to stay constant.
To see more of Crystal’s work and to keep up to date with her exhibition schedule please vist her website: http://www.crystalmorey.com/