Crystal Morey, the Record of the Maker

Crystal Morey’s strong yet delicate sculpture has only gotten more strong and more delicate as the years of gone on. As a fan of her work, I am thrilled to include her in the show this month at the Swee(t)Art Drawing Gallery. The show is called Protoform and from her startlingly consitant and strong portfolio, the gallery will showcase her drawing, a mode of her work that she doesn’t regularly show. If you are a fan of Crystal Morey’s Website than you do know her drawn work and if not, please visit us on the night of the reception, April 17th, 2010. I visited her new studio in the Compound’s new space on 65th in North Oakland and I asked her a couple of questions.

Her statement for the drawing show:

“In making the drawings for ‘Protoform’ I worked in an additive way. I collaged the drawings together by cutting out pieces and adding them for surface and texture.”

Obi: How did you come about to sculpture? Is it something you have always done, or were you a draw-er at first?

Crystal: I have been drawing for as long as I can remember. I grew up in the rural mountains of Northern California where I spent lots of time roaming the forests and building forts. In the evenings I would draw with my father, making elaborate stories about the animals and indigenous people that lived in the woods. This love for adventure and imagination fueled my desire to draw and has led to many other artistic passions.

I didn’t start sculpting until much later in life. Drawing is something that doesn’t require special equipment, only a surface and a tool to make marks. The way I work is no different, I have a surface and a tool to build with, the separation is in the process and the outcome. I think learning to draw first has only made my sculpture more informed, immediate, and inventive. Drawing and sculpting are both equally important to me. I have found that sculpting is more rewarding for me in its hands on visceral quality, it leaves a record of the maker that I haven’t been able to achieve through drawing.

Obi: I have noticed that your relationship to landscape, as a theme in your work is changing over the years. Am I right about this? Your figures exist in an environment now. Can you describe how that process came about and how you chose the imagery for the environment?

Crystal: I think my work has become less introspective in the past few years. For a long time I was very interested in emotion and focusing on the gesture, over exaggeration and animation in the body. I am still working with these ideas although in recent works I am looking at natural environments in relation to human emotion. I have always seen my figures in landscapes, although before, I only drew them. I am now making full environments, full narratives and landscapes.
The imagery for my landscapes are taken from objects, pictures, films, books, nature, and memory. I then reconstruct these images to make an environment that conveys the ideas and mood I want to show.

Obi: Sometimes I think your figures look like you. Is that right? Where do these people come from?

Crystal: Many people see the work as self-portrait, other people see the work first, and then on meeting me, can’t see the connection. For me, the figures don’t represent specific people, they represent feelings, situations, and states of being, and they are simply a vehicle to show an idea. I relate to humans and I am interested in both the relationships we have with each other and in nature.

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