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 private imagination into publicly viewable reality. A flat, opaque surface covered in colorful goo becomes a window into somewhere else. Magic, truly. This body of work simultaneously constructs and maps a painted picture world. Painting it, I attempt to discover a set of “natural laws” singular to a place that exists only in pictures. Fancifully, I like to think of as the space between frames of all the other pictures from the history of art and visual production; an interstitial expanse connecting a 1930s surrealist landscape and a 1980s sci-fi epic film still. It is a world composed of uncanny valleys, or featureless uncanny planes. Its great monuments are stolen from all my favorite pictures, or borrowed from the architecture of the walls on which my own paintings themselves hang.

Dara Morgenstern is an artist from Los Angeles, California. Her paintings explore the history of representations of space and place in visual culture, centering around the idea that our ability as humans to see and to make pictures is something entirely magical. She holds a BFA with distinction from ArtCenter College of Design in Pasadena, California. Her work has been exhibited in the United States and internationally.