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Rebecca Morgan painting

From The Huffington Post:

“I live in rural Pennsylvania. In the center of the state, deep in the rural T, my entire life, on and off. I left for grad school in Brooklyn and eventually moved from the city back to the country and bounced around to residencies and other experiences, but always back to my hometown for weeks, months, or years while waiting for the next opportunity. Now, I’m living in my hometown for my foreseeable future.

“I make art about this place and my complex and often conflicting rural identity. I make paintings, drawings, and ceramics that emanate from stereotypes of rural Appalachia and are at once diaristic examinations of myself romanticizing the rural and being repulsed by it. My work touches on truths about poverty, addiction, and off-the-grid living, as well as idealizations of uncultured country life, and in the same breath, low brow but loving portraits of characters, family and scenarios that I experience daily. I have more or less built a career around my diaristic experience living and growing up in this place. This is a place that I love, and I have worked very hard to love, even when it has not loved me back, or given me reason to love it.

“Living and working in rural Pennsylvania, in the last few months of the election in particular, has really started to make me re-evaluate my relationship with my rural identity and those that share it with me. As my work features lighthearted examples of local characters or cheeky representations of these rural individuals, it’s now a seeming impossibility to render them in bittersweet love; it seems the scale is tipped drastically the other way.

”Artists have always reflected society. I think the role of artists and creatives is to provide some kind of levity, clarity and lightness in the rough days ahead. In my own work, I want to make images for others to identify with. I want the images that I make to resonate with others ― to mirror events in their lives and have them relate to it as a moment of relief and think, ‘I’ve been there.’ If I can create a moment that someone can laugh at or help them to accept or laugh off darkness, embarrassment, hopelessness ― that is exceptionally powerful to me.

“I usually draw every day. I haven’t wanted to make work about the election and I haven’t wanted to make the work that I was making only a month ago, and also because I didn’t want to do ANYTHING. I was heartbroken. I still am, to many degrees, but the predominant feeling now is to get back on the horse. [...] My advice to other artists is that there is no wrong way to deal with the next four years EXCEPT to be passive and inarticulate with your time, words and values. There is no wrong way to make art; whatever voice you choose is the right thing ― whatever work you make is the right thing.” ― Rebecca Morgan, visual artist