Widely recognized as the leading contemporary Louisiana landscape painter, Elemore Morgan, Jr. resides in Vermilion Parish in the heart of the rice-growing region of Southwest Louisiana. A number of paintings in this exhibition offer a view from the porch of the artist’s studio in the countryside, as well as views of the Mississippi River executed in his distinctive luminous, gestural style. In his treatment of color and light Elemore Morgan, Jr.’s work is often likened to the Impressionists and the Fauves of the 19th and early 20th century. As he works outdoors and on location, the intense light, lush hues and thick atmosphere of the artist’s natural environment are all reflected in his rural and urban landscapes. “New Orleans is like Venice in that the moist atmosphere causes a whole way of painting,” says Morgan in a 2004 interview with writer Jason Berry. “Titian, Veronese, all those guys had to be affected by the soft, diffuse light. Their colors shimmer and radiate. Where I live on the prairie, that moist air triggers a similar response in what I see in the sky.”
Growing up on a family farm near Baton Rouge, Elemore Morgan, Jr. believes that his habit of painting outdoors in direct contact with nature grew out of his early life experiences with nature on his family’s land. Morgan acknowledges that his father, celebrated Louisiana photographer Elemore Morgan, Sr., was a strong influence in his artistic development. The senior Morgan, also captured by the landscape’s grandeur, documented the life and landscape of his native Louisiana in dramatic black and white photographs from the 1930s through the 1960s. A major joint retrospective of the work of Elemore Morgan Jr. and his father is planned for the fall of 2005 at The Ogden Museum of Southern Art in New Orleans.