Morgan Mandalay

Region: MFA Annual


City / State: San Diego, CA

I make pictures of historical narratives, acknowledging history as a collection of myths that are consistently reevaluated and restructured as they make the story of who we are and who we may become.

How does history become? What determines the plot? My paintings are constructions based on two overlapping theories: that history is a set of random and arbitrary collisions of people, places, and things, and that history is created through specific decisions, by specific people, with specific goals.

My paintings are visually structured to tease at the viewer’s desire to see into illusionistic space and to read the story, while rejecting the viewer’s prying eyes. In the case of these paintings, the trees and brambles perform this operation, revealing fractured symbolic details while never giving a clear sense of what’s happening. This is the space of an ever-shifting left-behind. The pictures are filled with imaginary ghosts of what might be or what might’ve been in a place that both is and isn’t. A place defined more by a moment than a landscape.