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Morgan McGill standing in front of her mural at the Muhammad Ali Center in Louisville, KY

I am an artist trained in the figurative tradition and my practice involves mural work as well as studio painting. Early in my studio work I developed an interest in collage that allowed me to explore a more ambiguous approach to image making, a technique that persists in my recent paintings.

Among the artists that have influenced my artistic thinking, I have been looking closely at Njideka Akunyili Crosby’s work—collaging imagery and depictions of people who are meaningful to her—and David Hockney's photo collages which, while also deeply personal images, fracture the surface of the image and break away from the boundaries of the frame. This has led me recently to make a series of portraits of people who are close to me, in paintings that are either multi-paneled or break out of the frame of the canvas.

My source material for these works is a combination of observational drawing and photographs of my subjects, and my objective is to achieve some expression of the intersubjectivity that inhabits the artist-model relationship. I am also interested in the way that altering the support of the canvas can affect how one perceives the subject of the work, bringing the material nature of paint and canvas to the foreground. Some of these paintings have a dividing space between the canvases, while in others the canvas spreads onto the wall. I’m interested in exploring how these aspects might intensify the reflexive relationship between the pictorial and material aspects of painting.

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