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Artist ID: 2393

Hand Writing Literature acts like the landscape; the landscape acts like literature, suggests Harvard design professor Gareth Doherty. Similar to the experience of walking, literature “slows us down.” Not only does reading slow us down, so too does writing. I can think of no better example than the ancient palimpsest. (A palimpsest is a manuscript written on parchment where two or more texts have been made in sequence with a new one created after the preceding one has been deleted.) As I see it, the process used on the palimpsest not only reads like the landscape it acts like the landscape, and in my case, the study of a kudzu-filled landscape. Much like employing milk and oat bran to wash the writing away on the parchment, the invasive vine kudzu from Japan ostensibly attempts to exterminate the landscape hinting at a faint memory of what was once there. The dialogue between landscape and literature is kind of like talking over your partner where her voice is drowned out by your own. A once vital oak is silenced as the vine climbs the tree, covering it from sunshine and the nutrients it provides, ultimately depriving it of life. The oak is the former text, leaving trails from the past while the new text kudzu asserts itself in the present.

Jeffrey Morton is an accomplished painter specializing in various interpretations of the landscape over the last twenty years. It was during a two-year residence in Japan, now over thirty years ago; Morton found affection for Japanese art and culture. He has a strong connection to the bold color fields found in 17th Century Japanese folding screens, and the fluid brushwork of ink painters and calligraphers during this period as well. Morton’s work has been exhibited regionally and nationally, including the University of Tennessee Downtown Gallery, Knoxville, the Harrison Center for the Arts, Indianapolis, and the Hunter Museum in Chattanooga. Educated at Yale University and Temple University, Tyler School of Art in Philadelphia, Morton has served as a professor of art at Covenant College since 2000. He exhibits widely, most recently at the Creative Arts Guild, Dalton, GA. In Chattanooga, he exhibited and curated the show “Accessing the Artist’s Brain: Drawing as Metaphor” at The Association of Visual Arts. Jeffrey Morton is a resident of Signal Mountain, Tennessee.

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