There are so many layers of meaning to Paul Morstad’s ultra-creative works. His drawings and paintings carry semi-fictional narratives built on natural science, mythology, musicology, rumours, hyperbole and folklore. (Above: Orphan Tsunami, 22 x 30″ Watercolour, 2022)
Slate Fine Art has announced Yellow Tiger Swallowtail, a new Morstad exhibition to run May 18 to June 10. His work occupies “the hinterland between tangled wilderness and tidy civilization . . . a semifictitious realm that is both water-bound and terrestrial,” Morstad explains.
“Sometimes based on legend or dreams or just a remnant of something overheard, my compositions are charts of a kind,” he says. “They map a purgatory inhabited by wandering nomads, tricky hobos, long-dead composers, defunct societies, distant relatives, extinct animals, forgotten deities, and mythical beasts who all reluctantly coexist somewhere between harmony and discord.”
His themes include “migration, encroachment, ecological decay, extirpation, and extinction,” Morstad says. “The media I use range from oil on panel, watercolour, pen and ink, and intaglio printmaking processes.”
Morstad explained this image on his Instagram when he posted this work a few weeks ago: “Klavdiya Shulzhenko was a Ukrainian 1930s/40s era singer who’s beautiful song, The Blue Head Scarf, which originally alluded to romantic love, was co-opted and rewritten as patriotic propaganda for the Russian war effort in WWII.”
Morstad also makes short, animated films with similar themes. His best known is Moon Man Newfie, composed and sung by Stompin’ Tom Connors, from the National Film Board of Canada. (How much more Canadian could that be?)
This Vimeo exploration of his art is definitely worth a watch., made during his 2021 exhibition at Galerie Youn.
Paul Morstad’s website, here.
His Instagram here.
His next exhibition, in Regina at Slate Fine Art Gallery, here.
Also represented by Galerie Youn in Montreal, here.
Also represented by Gallery Jones in Vancouver, here.
Note: Morstad broke ground while working for the National Film Board. Moon Man was the NFB’s second animated film using the revolutionary IMAX SANDDE digital system, which enables animators to draw and animate 3D images in space with a moving wand. (It is presented here in its 2D version).
Another new artist—to me. Thank you. And I enjoyed the Moon Man Newfie video…very creative.
Love his work. Thanks for introducing me to it.
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Glad you liked it, he’s definitely worth watching.
An incredible artist who I was not aware of previously. Thanks so much for this post. And I’ll be thinking of that golden dory too for a while.
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You are so welcome. Glad you found him.. I agree he’s amazing.