Nature/Amour: Norma Morgan

March 1, 2022

Norma Morgan: Enchanted World opened at the Academy Art Museum in Easton, Maryland, in the spring of last year. It was the first solo museum exhibition dedicated to the masterful works of this under-known printmaker and a second exhibition is in the planning stages for the spring of 2023. 

 

This renewed interest in Morgan’s highly skillful engravings and watercolors is encouraging. One of only two women artists of color to work with Stanley William Hayter at the Atelier 17, Morgan was a trailblazer who showed immediate skill with engraving. In 1951, she received a John Hay Whitney Opportunity Fellowship to study abroad in England and Scotland. The Opportunity fellowships were created to offer artists of color a chance to work overseas. The landscapes of Dartmoor and The Catskill Mountains became the preferred subject for the rest of her life, and Morgan returned to the captivating English landscape on two separate journeys between 1961-64. From the late 1960s until 2010, she divided her time between Manhattan and Woodstock, NY. We’ve selected a group of engravings, woodblocks, and watercolors that affirm Morgan’s love for these wildlands. Some works were created in the moment through up-close observation, while others were created far-removed from the source, relying on memory mixed with a vivid imagination. Wherever their inspiration came from, the level of skill is consistent in each work of art. Morgan’s take on these rocky outcrops shows a Romantic view and a sense of infinite space in her beloved mountains. Her engravings Wild (1952-53), Stony Clove (1974), along with the color woodcut, Lovers (1951), reveal a deep and ongoing interest in human romance and passion. Morgan’s creative spirit remained ablaze in her later years, and though limited by the physicality of older age, she continued to explore - focusing more on the inner world than the outer.