Looking for a place to call home is the subject of photographs on exhibition throughout the month of August at the Lee Dam Center for Fine Art. Allen Morris, a photographer from Milwaukee, Wis., is the artist.
The exhibit, “ISO,” opens Thursday, August 1, with a reception to meet the artist from 5 p.m. until 6:30 p.m. Complimentary hors d’oeuvres and refreshments will be served. The exhibit closes Saturday, August 31.
The art center is open Thursdays from 4-6 p.m.; Saturdays from 10-4 p.m.; Sundays from 1-4 p.m.
Morris is an Associate Lecturer of Photography at the Peck School of Arts at the University of Wisconsin - Milwaukee.
He makes photographs that focus on the relationship between humans and their environments with a particular interest on the influence of place on identity. His work has been exhibited in galleries in the United States and internationally.
The photographs in the exhibition began when Morris was working on his thesis at the University of Nebraska - Lincoln.
“The whole body of work started with a blurred photograph of a landscape, taken completely by accident, but that I kept coming back to,” he said. “I continued to make images for this exhibit sporadically while I finished my degree, but I really began to pursue the work when I moved to Wisconsin.”
Morris says the concept that underlies the work is the search for stability, certainty, and a place to call home.
“This is something that, even after living and working in a faculty role in Wisconsin, I’m still on the lookout for,” he said.
The photographs in the exhibition are composites built from multiple photographs, some that are static and some that exhibit a blurred motion -- the sort of visuals someone might see if they were searching for something. All of the images in the exhibition are black and white.
Morris was young when he first became interested in photography.
“My parents bought me a point and shoot 35mm camera when I was about ten years old,” he said. “It was really fun for me to run around the mountains of eastern Oregon, where I grew up, and snap pictures of whatever I wanted.”
When Morris attended high school, he was active in journalism and took a few photographs for the local newspaper as a freelancer primarily covering high school news. He took his first photography class when he attended Eastern Oregon University.
“I took the class to fill an elective,” he said. “I fell madly in love with the medium as I watched my first ever darkroom print develop. I was hooked and decided that’s what I wanted to do with my life.”
As an artist Morris seeks out opportunities to not only display his work in large cities, but in smaller communities as well.
“My hometown is only a bit larger than Marysville,” he said. “I grew up in a rural section of Oregon, and so I feel a pretty deep connection to the Marysville community. I know that growing up in smaller communities there may not be many opportunities to engage with a variety of art forms - something I felt growing up in my small hometown - so I jumped at the opportunity to show my work in Marshall County.”