Jeff Morin

Printmaker & Book Artist, Stevens Point, WI

“Great art should haunt one like an unrequited love because they are one and the same.”


Artist Statement: To create or make art at first glance seems like a natural thing. Yet, if by our nature we do not want to draw attention to ourselves, making art is truly unnatural. In addition, if one wants to have an honest dialogue with the viewer, one has to drop all cares away. One’s work reflects who one is. If not, it is a lie and a lie is often simply easier though fundamentally wrong.

In my work, I can not help myself. It is like talking to oneself while others listen. It is compelling to listen but there is also that discomfort because there is a sense that these are not public conversations. These are confessions. I do feel like a fool at times as I search for meaning through materials or a narrative. It is such an antiquated way to think that perhaps it is naively quaint.

Like someone with obsessive compulsive disorder, I have the same conversation over and over again. It never gets old but it does become exhausting at times. Others might think that the work is about love, sex and desire but it is probably (also) about intrigue. The question that I would ask you is whether it is possible to create enough intrigue even in the simplest drawing to hold one attention and haunt? Great art should haunt one like an unrequited love because they are one and the same.

Biography: Jeff Morin is currently a Professor and the Dean of the College of Fine Arts & Communication at the University of Wisconsin-Stevens Point. Jeff is also the proprietor and creative director of sailorBOYpress based in Stevens Point.

Jeff received his MFA from the University of Wisconsin in Madison and was a Research Associate at the Russia and East European Center at the University of Illinois, Urbana – Champaign, IL. His work is a part of many collections, and has been exhibited both nationally and internationally.

Additional Information: When producing narrative work, I return to themes from history. This dialogue can connect the viewer to the past and gives us validity as humans. Concepts of purity, grace, pity and forgiveness, while less at the center of contemporary art-making, have not vanished.

When the Church relinquished its role as patron, artists breathed in freedom and began to exhale more self-concerned work. The Church had provided focus, yet seemed restrictive. Artists assumed that freedom would nurture creativity, but creativity is the manifestation of a problem solved. Absolute freedom is the absence of problems, hence the lack of need to solve, discuss and disagree through art.

This statement first accompanied an exhibition on sacred space which asked whether sacred space is relevant in today’s society or not. And is one really transfixed through sacred acts beyond one’s control? Does God make things happen through a saint’s actions or is the saint an intercessor to God? The saints that I have depicted possess no power beyond themselves and simply live in a state of grace. This grace allows the impossible to seem possible and the supernatural to seem common. We all possess the ability to sway the world in a saintly way. The sentiments expressed in these portfolios can be described as looking for the miraculous in the mundane.

As a student, I was influenced by an exhibition of the photographs by Duane Michals, in particular his series on Christ in contemporary society. The images had titles like “Christ eating cat food with a pensioner in Brooklyn”. These images took the classical theme of “Christ’s example” and framed it within a very modern context. I wrestle with this dichotomy in the studio and hope to continue so for a long time.

Sponsorship: The Paper Fox Printmaking Workshop & thINK Printmaking Club