Meditative Action at GCAC

Santa Ana, CA  Grand Central Art Center is known by most Orange County residents as an artistic hub for contemporary art and culture. They have been turning out great contemporary exhibitions for years, but recently had a programming shift with new Director, John Spiak. Their once heavily pop-surrealist galleries now take the lead for OC in their new abstract and conceptual art obsessions. If you’re not into conceptual art or abstract art, go ahead and click off, because this blogger friggin loves it.

Grand Central Art Center (GCAC) not only exists as a grand hub of art in Santa Ana (and all of OC), but believe it or not, there are people living there! Whaaaaat? Yes. Grad students to be exact. Lots of them. CSUF’s MFA and MA graduate students in art, art history, dance, and theater. So what better kind of work to explore more in depth than that of upcoming MFAs? GCAC has their annual resident grad student show, which kicks a lot of ass, but is only once a year. Though it would be more fitting for GCAC to spend a bit more of their programming on their own grad students and their awesome work, instead, they are showcasing a UCLA MFA grad student, and for good reason. Erin Morrison is a very impressive painter working in interesting materials like acrylic polymer, plexiglas, oil, graphite, flashe, found objects, and more. Morrison creates emotionally evocative abstract paintings that resemble possible surrealist landscapes or creative and minimalistic studies of human thought.

Morrison’s new body of work is a culmination of paintings that experiment slightly with sculptural ideas and objects, but also touch on conceptual notions of dividing spaces and visual interpretation of such. Spiak believes, “they portray a sense of loss or misunderstanding, as well as a feeling of upheaval, revealing the displacement that comes with living a somewhat nomadic life.” Morrison is no stranger to nomadic life, raised in Little Rock, Arkansas and spending the majority of her young adulthood traversing across this world we call home, and finding inspiration in places, people, and experiences. She seems to invoke Dali and Rauschenberg in her work as she creates. She earned her BFA from Memphis College of Art in 2006, and is now pursuing an MFA in painting from UCLA. She is represented by William Bennett Gallery in New York for now, but can often be found in the studios at UCLA.

Morrison’s work is intriguingly detailed and evokes something like deconstructed medical illustrations of magical faerie creatures and their light fruits, and when asked, she speaks of the abstract creations “as things in their most fragile points of existence…” Her new work seems to continue to embody these values but plays a bit more with the surreal, giving and taking from what we see and feel, and how those sensory experiences are born and recreated in the visual language.


She has acquired much success in the very beginning parts of her artistic career, and this upcoming exhibition seems to fit right in with her. GCAC is handing this talented young artist a solo show in the Education Gallery, and the new work is monumentally fascinating and darkly beautiful.

Erin Morrison: Meditative Action September 1 through October 14, 2012

Opening Reception is during 1st Saturday Art Walk, September 1st, 2012.

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