Neither Mustard Nor Teeth
photographs by Peter Morse
drawings by David West
September 1-30. Reception September 29, 5-7pm, Jane Deering Gallery, 19 Pleasant Street, Gloucester
from the exhibition release:
“Neither Mustard nor Teeth, by artists Peter Morse and David West, is an exploration of the everyday discipline of the artist searching to ﬁnd the extraordinary and the beautiful among the quotidian rhythms of ordinary life.
Morse’s photos call attention to the overlooked. They catch moments of light, pattern, form and structure that might otherwise be sensed only out of the corner of the eye. What is captured in the frame draws us nearer, asks us to pause. While grounded in the ordinary, they leave the viewer with questions about time and place and the seemingly familiar. West’s drawings feature the townscape of Gloucester as seen by a non-native. They are visual handshakes from a Southern alien coming to terms with a new place for the ﬁrst time. The quiet empty spaces offer little peace; the architectures crowd each other and jostle for attention as they attempt to stay upright.
Both bodies of work are rooted in the act of stopping and looking, the life blood of the artist. Slowing down. Being present in the moment long enough to pay attention and to record. Whether the action is contained in the fraction of a shutter click, or the longer process of drawing, each is a response to the quiet call of objects and moments at hand. The phrase — neither mustard nor teeth — is from the essay, Of Power and Time, by the Massachusetts poet Mary Oliver. Oliver tells of the tensions between the necessity of living in the world with its demands of time and task and energy, all the while striving to see the inherent beauty of it all, to make sense of it through the creative process:
It is six a.m., and I am working. I am absent-minded, reckless, heedless of social obligations, etc. It is as it must be. The tire goes ﬂat, the tooth falls out, there will be a hundred meals without mustard. The poem gets written. I have wrestled with the angel and I am stained with light and I have no shame. Neither do I have guilt. My responsibility is not to the ordinary, or the timely. It does not include mustard, or teeth.
Peter Morse lives in Amesbury, and David West is resident here in Gloucester. Both artists are in need of going to the grocery as well as the dentist.
Peter Morse holds a BA Summa Cum Laude from Gordon College and an MFA in Photography from the University of Hartford, CT. Residencies include Berlin, Germany, New York, NY and Portland OR. He teaches at Gordon College where he is also Manager of the Barrington Center for the Arts and the Gallery. He has exhibited in the US, Germany and Cuba. Morse maintains a studio in Amesbury MA.
David West is originally from Mississippi. He holds an MFA from Louisiana State University with a concentration in printmaking. He is Associate Professor of art at Gordon College, Wenham MA where he is Chair of the Art Department. West is also Co-Founder/Curator of ArtSpace 86 Gallery in Jackson MS. He has exhibited widely in the US. West is now living in Gloucester MA