In Flotsam, the subject and painting style vary from painting to painting, although they all embody a consuming familiarity as much to the viewer as the artist. The show brings together collective images that Morse has obsessed over for a decade, forming a cryptic puzzle that attempts to translate, but also attempts to let go. Morse states, ‘I’m not talking, just painting. Finding. The show is a mixtape more than an album.’
Within these observations lie a compulsion to collect moments that speak to Morse, ‘I’ll paint that one day’ — photos, screenshots, sourced images, up-cycled memories. Gradually, there is a catalogue of images at the fingertips. Images that express themselves in a way that relate to one another. Images that precede their ideas, frosting through the windshield on the drive home, melting through badly constructed snowmen, scratching through the canvas. Images that will never be printed at the Kodak lab.
Moving quickly through the next subject, from small screens to the natural world, with no desire to deep dive into the same subject twice, Morse references flotsam, the debris in the water that was not deliberately thrown overboard. In a way, the road and its entourage of side characters – JAWS, connect four, Steve Martin and Chevy Chase – embody the unintentional images, washed up onto Morse’s phone camera into his sphere. When the light is right and the season had turned to its best, something remains: bad snowmen and their stupid melting pointless familiar beauty.