Joey Morgan: Catch+Release (2) Précis

March 9 - June 16, 2019

Fire mesmerizes. For millennia humans have gathered before controlled fires to sustain life, and we have experienced out-of-control fires with horror. The sheer power of fire unleashes deeply rooted physical, emotional, and metaphoric responses.

Joey Morgan’s Catch + Release provides a multifaceted and open-ended viewing experience. This immersive installation’s central feature is a projected wall of fire. Although it throws no heat and poses no danger, its rhythmic movement is hypnotic, compelling us to contemplate its energy and meaning.

On the opposite wall is a series of dark, abstract multimedia paintings; another wall holds a small sculpture. What these are or represent is ambiguous. Further complicating interpretation are QR codes placed on a side wall, which allow smart-phone users to access short videos. The number of narrative threads to watch—as well as the narrative syntax—is completely up to the individual viewer.

— Mara Williams, Chief Curator

Someday, after mastering the winds, the waves, the tides and gravity, we shall harness for God the energies of love, and then, for a second time in the history of the world, man will have discovered fire.

— Teilhard de Chardin

The title, Catch + Release, refers to the practice of catching a fish, pulling it from its mysterious depths, and then releasing it, allowing it to fall back home. This is thought to be a humane gesture. The phrase can pivot toward seductive play, or political threat, or to how one tries to hold on to a subconscious thought as the waking body forces one back into the quotidian world.

However abstract the conceptual scaffolding of my work may be, the first punch is emotional. Scale and points of attachment tether a piece to the analog world; but gaps are the essential components, giving the work breath. The piece may address shared experience in a particular voice; but it is the viewer who receives, interprets, and essentially alters what meaning there is.

— Joey Morgan


Photo Gallery


March 21, Thursday, 7 p.m. – Gallery Talk: Joey Morgan