Kim Morgan

In Residence: Sep 12 – Nov 14, 2016

Exhibition: Nov 10, 2016 – Jan 10, 2017

Kim Morgan is interested in human relationships as they exist between things, other people, and places. She explores this by focusing on materiality, thinking about the role that tactility plays in our heavily virtual and digitized culture. Morgan has most recently focused this investigation on blood, of which she writes, “Blood is the material fabric of our life and therefore we have a profound and dynamic relationship to it. It has medical, social, and political meanings and consequences. Blood is woven into our language to define relationships (blood ties, blood feuds, blood brothers) and features in religious and pagan rituals. As a material, blood is complex, vibrant, valuable, and abject.” Morgan uses the duality that blood represents—as cultural, sustainable, personal—in her new installation sigh.

To begin this work, Morgan collaborated with scientists to use Scanning Electron Microscopy (SEM), which enables her to view blood samples at 100x -100,000x or more. This magnification allows us to see in a way we cannot with the naked eye and provides us with information about our own bodies in an intimate way. For the actual samples it was important that Morgan collect them from people she knows—her mother, partner, friends, students, and herself—creating a unique portrait of an extended social unit, for each scan is unique much like our own fingerprints. The composite image is like a huge mural, which on first glance is seductive. Then a deeper look reveals what we are faced with, and we find irregularities; wondering what disorders, disease, and genetics they point to.

For sigh, Morgan printed this portrait onto a lightweight fabric and hung it across the room. The material has a translucency to it, making it more like a membrane or a skin than a curtain. But what is perhaps most striking is how it moves—the image breaths in the room, sighing and exhaling. It is almost as if we have stepped inside a huge lung or heart, and the blood cells move around us, circulating as they would through our veins. In the end, this work allows us to see deeper and makes tangible the mysteries of our own bodies.

Also note that Morgan has made a limited edition scarf with the “blood portrait” from sigh on it, using the same material used in the manufacture of the curtain. The scarf further points to blood as a fluid of life and commodity. The scarves will be available for purchase at Artpace and a portion of the proceeds will benefit the Ovarian Cancer Society.

From the artist: What was the impact of the Artpace residency for you?

The Artpace residency gives me the time, space, and funding to create, sigh! These are gifts. With the help of the Artpace staff and other professionals, I am able to realize a large-scale, experimental, and technically complex art installation in a short period of time, and have it on exhibit for public viewing. The Guest Curator’s (Denise Markonish, MASS MoCA) choice of selected artists for this round of residents has been another fortuitous opportunity—to get to know two incredibly talented female artists—during this intense period of time. These experiences have been invaluable.

Additional funding for sigh provided by


Kim Morgan

Halifax, Nova Scotia, Canada

Kim Morgan is a sculpture & installation artist based in Halifax, Nova Scotia. Her work explores the impact of technology on people’s perceptions of time, space, and the body, and the shifting boundaries between the private and the public. She has exhibited in galleries such as Mass MoCA; John Michael Kohler Arts Centre; Cynthia Broan Gallery, NYC; St. Paul’s Gallery, New Zealand; p/m Gallery, Toronto; Confederation Art Centre, Prince Edward Island; and in public spaces – the Regina Transit System, Victoria Park, Regina, Saskatchewan, and the 2010 Vancouver Olympics.
She has received numerous awards including the Nova Scotia Masterworks Award 2012, Arts Nova Scotia Creation Grants, and was a co-recipient of a Social Science Humanities and Research Council Research and Creation Grant. Recent residencies are The Dalhousie Medical School, The Robert Rauschenberg Foundation Residency, and The Banff Centre for the Arts.
Morgan is an Associate Professor at the Nova Scotia School of Art and Design University in Halifax, Canada.

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Denise Markonish

North Adams, Massachusetts, USA

Denise Markonish is the curator at MASS MoCA where her exhibitions include: Jim Shaw; Entertaining Doubts, Lee Boroson: Plastic Fantastic, Teresita Fernandez: As Above So Below, Mark Dion: The Octagon Room, Tom Philips and Johnny Carrera: Life’s Work; Oh, Canada the largest survey of contemporary Canadian art (accompanied by a 400-page catalogue co-published with MIT Press); Sanford Biggers: The Cartographer’s Conundrum, Michael Oatman: all utopias fell; Stephen Vitiello: All Those Vanished Engines, Nari Ward: Sub Mirage Lignum (catalogue); Petah Coyne: Everything That Rises Must Converge (catalogue: Yale University Press), Inigo Manglano-Ovalle: Gravity is a force to be reckoned with (catalogue: D.A.P); These Days: Elegies for Modern Times and Badlands: New Horizons in Landscape (catalogue: MIT Press. Markonish also co-edited with Susan Cross the book Sol LeWitt: 100 Views (Yale University Press). In addition to her curatorial work Markonish has taught at University of New Haven, Stonehill College and the Rhode Island School of Design. Markonish is currently working on a new projects for 2016-17 with Nick Cave, Elizabeth King, Tanja Hollander and Sarah Oppenheimer.

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