I Heart Appalachian Art: Between Chlamydia and Twang

by Diane Seuss

I stumbled upon Rebecca Morgan’s drawings, paintings, and ceramics a few years ago, in the way those of us who don’t live in big cities with access to galleries find art—on the internet. Even viewing them on a screen, robbed of their true scale, I was bowled over by their liveliness. Her art rises almost exclusively from her rural upbringing in the Appalachian region of central Pennsylvania and is focused on the human figure in a landscape of pines, grasses, wildflowers, cattails, and other signifiers of the world beyond culture. Still life components in the paintings and drawings—Cheetos, Big Gulps, sunglasses mirrored rainbow, Jell-O salads decorated like American flags, granny afghans, hunting dogs, corn on the cob, Mountain Dew—bring cultural debris in, perverse, comical, rapturous. Morgan’s figures are not just un-idealized, they’re purposely grotesque. Bodies are covered in zits and bug bites. Eyebrows aren’t just unplucked; they’re bushy as a cowboy’s mustache. Eyes are sometimes tiny on doughy faces. Teeth are yellow or green and as crooked as old tombstones. Women’s bodies are large, unshaved, tattooed, fingers capped with fake nails. Continue reading “I Heart Appalachian Art: Between Chlamydia and Twang”

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