CRYSTAL MOREY

BREAKING GROUND: Women in California Clay

September 10, 2022—February 9, 2023 | Group Exhibition at American Museum of Ceramic Art | Pomona California

Assembled together for the first time in Breaking Ground, these works tell the compelling story of how women artists from California made, and continue to make, significant contributions to the American Studio Ceramics movement in profound and singular ways.

View the Exhibition HERE

ESPRITS LIBRES

 June 17, 2022 – April 1, 2023 | Group Exhibition at La Fondation d’Enterprise Bernardaud (Limoges, France)

Featuring Works from Morey’s “Replanting” & “Venus on the Waves” series

Replanting Series

“The urban landscape of my daily life is a stark contrast to the mountains and trees of my childhood. My experiences as a child directly inspire my work today. I am interested in the intellectual, emotional and primitive relationship between humans and their environment. I used to consider mankind to be part of «nature» and subject to natural events. I now realize that it is the biggest variable in changing our planet. Over the past hundred years, humans have altered the planet radically. We are now the driving force behind environmental change. These are the ideas I keep in mind when I create.”

Giraffe Madonna and Child

Elephant

Mountain Lion

Over the Land (Mt. Lion and Unicorn)

Over the Water (Rhino and Swan)

NATURE/NURTURE

Group Exhibition at Ferrin Contemporary (North Adams, MA) | 2020 & 2021
Virtual Conference at
NCECA Rivers, Reflections, and Reinvention | 2021

Group exhibition of twelve contemporary female artists invited to explore the influence of gender and its impact on their practice.

Featuring Works from the Venus on the Waves Series

CRYSTAL MOREY: VENUS ON THE WAVES

Solo Exhibition at Ferrin Contemporary | 2019

As a result of human consumption, climate change, and habitat loss, we are experiencing increased responsibility to care for the living creatures around us. Morey?s delicate porcelain works highlight these precarious connections and our roles as advocates and protectors of our most vulnerable species. Her sculptures narrate the interdependence between humans, plants, and animals while cultivating empathy for our changing world.

Entangled: Grizzly(Part 2)

Three Graces

SCULPTURES

African Bush Elephant


Without Borders/ White Rhino Airlift


American, b. 1983, Nevada City, CA
lives and works in Oakland, CA

Crystal Morey sculpts human-animal-plant hybrids as a reflection of our effects on the natural world. Through the delicacy of porcelain, she highlights the struggle of fringe, endangered, and extinct species in an era following rapid industrialization. In her work, these susceptible creatures become indicators of the adverse impacts of human-caused climate change. Morey addresses issues like ocean acidification and habitat consumption while reminding us of nature’s beauty, adaptability, and interconnection. She creates empathy for the most vulnerable, allowing us to hope that it isn’t too late.

In 2006, Morey completed her BFA from the California College of the Arts; she received her MFA from San Jose State University in 2015. Morey has been an artist in residence at The LH Project, Watershed Center for Ceramic Arts, and the Penland School of Craft.

While referencing art historical traditions within her own generation, her work branches into the new contemporary, high craft, and fine art worlds. Her work has been shown internationally, with showcases at the Frick Pittsburgh and the Scripps College Ceramic Annual.

Morey’s work can be viewed in the permanent collections of the Monterey Museum of Art in Monterey, California, and The Crocker Museum of Art in Sacramento, California. She lives and works in Oakland, California, and is represented by Ferrin Contemporary.

ON HER WORK

I find interest in capturing the connections we all share in the natural world around us. Driven by contemporary environmental issues and inspired by art history, I want to illuminate the stories of today, while continuing a visual language of the past. Showing that we are all linked through land and time, dependent on each other for the long-term health of our planet.

Since the Industrial Revolution, human expansion and resource consumption has grown, leading many creatures to live within stressed ecosystems. Through climate change and habitat loss, we find ourselves affecting the wellbeing of plants, animals and the wild lands around us. I am interested in how we as humans understand such difficult situations, find solutions, and continue to move forward.

Through the delicacy of porcelain, I am capturing the environmental situations of today, and the physical and emotional weight they contain. With creatures that share hybrid elements of human, animal and plant attributes, my creations share a heightened sense of interconnectedness and precarious balance.  With particular interests in vulnerable species, my focus is in depicting endangered or extinct creatures and the biodiversity found in their habitats.

Pulling from traditions of realism, craftsmanship, and art historical porcelain, I am looking to incorporate these customs of beauty, while also building a contemporary, science-based, environmental narrative of today. A story that reminds us of the importance of our natural spaces, and that all living creatures are connected through a thread of time and a fragile world.

?Nature/Nurture? Installation View, Crystal Morey, Mara Superior, Kardi Parnamets, 2020.

ON NATURE/NURTURE

I grew up in Northern California of the 1980s and 90s, influenced by the movements of free speech, feminism, and living close to the land. My ideas of gender were rooted in feminine strength, connected to the power of nature. As my love for nature, equality, and art have grown, becoming my own, I have realized the historical absence of female voices depicting our bodies and experiences. Now, as a woman and an artist, I want to reclaim the art historical nude with its powerful beauty, relationship to the natural world, and the ability to share a new, contemporary narrative.

Reclaiming the feminine body as containing autonomy, self-determination, and strength are important in my creations. Pulling from traditions of classical beauty and realism, while also using exaggerated gesture and body positivity is very important. I am continually looking to create figures with emotional strength, luscious sexuality, and evocative forms that share a kind of raw power and self-containment.

FC NEWS & STORIES | CRYSTAL MOREY | Nature/Nurture

Ferrin Contemporary, Crystal Morey, “Venus on the Waves” 2019 Installation View.

ON VENUS ON THE WAVES

Venus on the Waves is in the permanent collection of the Getty Museum, and was shown with Boucher’s original panel grouping of six, at the Legion of Honor’s exhibition, “Casanova: The Seduction of Europe”, in 2018. Boucher’s luscious figures embody weightlessness and beauty, some floating amongst the clouds, others rolling in the surf as sea creatures emerge from the water below. Boucher paints a sugary world of decadence and lust that can only exist in thought, one of longing emotion, physical charm, and a romantic natural world.

The inspiration for “Venus on the Waves” is seeded in the contrast we see in Boucher’s lavish world and today’s land of human consumption and environmental destruction.

The weight, turbulence and unease of our changing natural environment with climate change, habitat loss and ocean acidification is felt in the relationship between these porcelain hybrid creatures. They embody our instinct of yearning, searching for an answer and a place of knowledge and rest.  Carried by creatures of the sea, these figures show a narrative of human, plant and animal connection and dependence, one that encourages the cultivation of balance in our changing natural environment.

CURRENT + RECENT EXHIBITIONS

Crystal Morey: Venus on the Waves Catalog


The 8.5 x 11″ booklet includes 16 beautiful pages of images and text from the “Venus on the Waves” exhibition
at Ferrin Contemporary in 2019.

Read more about the exibition, HERE.

The book also includes a wonderful essay by writer Maria Porges, “Claiming Beauty: Crystal Morey’s Venus on the Waves”.

Excerpt from Maria Porges Essay:

All of Morey’s therianthropes have a kind of contained power, even when their poses might bely such a reading. A closer examination of the passive contrapposto of the standing figures in Three Gracesreveals a kind of watchful alertness. Positioned back to back around a tree stump, they are warriors creating a united defense. Rhino and mountain lion have their arms intertwined, but the gesture looks protective rather than girlishly affectionate. Alert, all three scan the horizon, dependent on each other for safety. As Morey has put it, “The rhino, mountain lion and human are all in danger of habitat loss, and extinction- although the human is just now realizing how delicate her situation is, and how dependent she is on the well -being of the creatures and environments around her.”

Like these three, Morey reminds us, all living creatures are connected. Multiple-figure compositions– a first for her—have enabled her to address increasingly complex issues. The result is a body of work in which several different meanings can be slowly unpacked, even as the immediate physical appeal of the figures provides pleasure. “You can come in at whatever level you want, but hopefully it will make you think about something you haven’t previously considered… I don’t know if this work will make a change, but I hope it instigates a conversation.”