24 artists (and 4 guest artists) connected strongly to the mission of restoring the Charles W. Morgan the last wooden whale ship in the world. Every artist found in the restoration of the Morgan a prism into their own histories and work. Work on the ship blends traditional and cutting-edge technologies – the art that it inspired, runs a similar gamut from figuration to abstraction, handmade to digital.
All my life, I have lived a little bit in two worlds. As an American
born and raised in Venezuela, or a Venezuelan with an American History, my identification with my cultures has often ranged
from both to neither and many places in between. The Charles W. Morgan is unmistakably
American, and has traveled the world.
Jonah found Redemption in the belly of the
whale. The American Economy, and to a great degree, the American Revolution were built on the blood of the whale and the sweat of the whale fishermen. The
Morgan is a moving factory, and the devotion to craft and hard work we see in
her restoration is alive in America, even when we don't see or value it.
My research revealed the opportunities for personal freedom that
whaling fostered. Whaling helped finance the American
Revolution and afforded a path for some to work for their freedom from bondage.
Mystic Seaport is a place where History
breathes, sings and reveals itself. It's a museum where the work happens in
plain sight rather than behind sheetrock, because the work is the exhibit. It's a laboratory for the preservation of
tradition. It helps us explain ourselves to ourselves.
There is a philosophical aspect
of it that informed my work. All the passion, science and
resources that go into keeping her navigable, make me wonder if she is truly
the same ship she was when she was built.
The struts that hold up the Morgan fascinate me. The spacing and order involved
in keeping something so large and convex so sturdy has me hooked every time I
I always think I'll return with a clear plan of action, but it generally shifts a little. Changes in light, season and the weather shade and morph
my plans into something that is ultimately more relevant and beautiful.
Continuity Through Change
A series of stamps illustrating a harpoon's progress from a tool to a form that moves like its prey.
Through the Woodshop to the Morgan
A ship like The Morgan is alive. Water has warped and conserved
her, blood has stained her deck, people have lived and died in her.
C.W. Morgan Winter 2011
I responded strongly to a theme of redemption I found in the
restoration of The Morgan. Multiple views reflect multiple restorations and