Dara Morgenstern

MFA ’23 Fine Arts 2D

Pictures are magic. Consider a picture of a place. Or perhaps more accurately, consider the illusion of “placeness” we are able to see in pictures — pictorial space on a two-dimensional surface organized such that it brings a three-dimensional space from imagination into tangible reality. A flat, opaque surface covered in colorful goo becomes a window into somewhere else. Magic, truly. My paintings simultaneously construct and map a painted picture world. The pictures themselves are often more diagrammatic than picturesque, self-consciously the behind-the-scenes featurette rather than the actual film. They document the interstitial spaces outside the frames of all the familiar pictures from the history of art and visual production. It is a world composed of uncanny valleys, or featureless uncanny planes. Through them I discover a set of “natural laws” singular to a place that exists only in pictures. Its great monuments are stolen from all my favorite pictures, site constructions in a vast imaginary somewhere, bounded by my limited frame of reference.

Dara Morgenstern is an artist from Los Angeles, California. She received an MFA from Massachusetts College of Art and Design in 2022 and a BFA from ArtCenter College of Design in Pasadena, California in 2019. Prior to this, she studied graphic design at California Institute of the Arts and worked as a graphic designer and art director. Her work has been exhibited in the United States and internationally.