The Luminous Landscape Grant
Allen Morris - Oregon, United States of America
ISO is an exploration of anxiety and place insecurity. This autobiographical body of work uses the digital photographs to describe the search for Place and stability in geographical and psychological terms. With an exhibition of the work scheduled for early 2018, I would use grant funding to purchase materials to prepare, print, and present these photographs for the exhibition as well as editions for future opportunities for display or acquisition into collections.
As a photographer, I utilize the landscape as a stage to create images that speak to more than just the geographic. For me, the purpose of making art is to convey subjective interests in a manner that is relatable to a larger population, and by using the morphological features on the planet’s surface, I am able to create work that focuses on deeper concerns using an aesthetic vernacular that is readily understood. Given my recent completion of Graduate School and my modest artistic career that spans only a few years, I consider myself to be an emerging artist.
My work explores the intersections of space, place, and their influence on human identity. Over the past three years, I have explored the topic of place insecurity, recently culminating in a body of photographs entitled “ISO.” In this autobiographical series, I examine the feeling of uncertainty felt when I have found myself in a new geographical location, along with the search for a place of stability and certainty. The objective of my work is not only to add to the ongoing artistic dialogue focusing on place and its impact on personal identity, but to do so using imagery that discusses these concepts on a subtly psychological level.
While “ISO” began as an investigation of my own feelings of insecurity brought on by relocating to new locations to begin a new career; I began to consider the idea of place insecurity in different terms. The anxiety that is brought on by relocating is difficult to deal with on a small scale, but it becomes amplified exponentially when that experience is not optional – but rather a requirement. History has provided numerous examples of entire populations that were forced to leave their homes in order to survive; however, one does not have to look far to see contemporary examples of these mandatory exoduses. As with forced relocations throughout the past, the modern equivalent is too often caused by political upheaval or disasters whether natural or human-made, and those that are forced to flee these events will experience many of the same complications faced by forced emigrants from generations past.
Further, I consider the idea of “place insecurity” as an expression of the psychological landscape in addition to the physical geography with which humans interact. The notion of place insecurity has taken on a new meaning in the current political climate both globally and here in the United States. During any major shift in the political underpinnings of a society, the social stations that exist within a population may be shuffled by the new governance. These shifts can place entire groups into situations in which they can no longer feel secure in society at large. As a member of the LGBTQ community, it is a feeling that I have experienced in the wake of the 2016 election for the first time. Immediately after the results were announced, I began to feel as though I no longer knew the country that is my home; I looked at the space around me and nothing looked or felt the same.
The assistance that is provided by the M. Riechmann Grant would allow me to complete my work on “ISO.” I have secured a solo exhibition opportunity that is scheduled for March 2018, the first such opportunity in my career, and would use the funds to prepare, print, and present this body of work. Additionally, I intend to use the funds to purchase materials needed to edition the “ISO” for future exhibition opportunities and gallery or museum acquisition.