Gallery Sitka : Art Show Preview : Dug Morton


July 30, 2015

Contact: Tamar Russell Brown, Gallery Sitka — 978.425.6290

Distinguished Abstract Expressionist to Exhibit at New Gallery in Shirley

SHIRLEY, Mass. — Exploring ideas by way of abstract images is often Dug Morton’s artistic goal. Pure color, line, texture and shape are increasingly the means of communicating concepts in Mr. Morton’s art. At least that is the case with the paintings he will exhibit at Gallery Sitka in Shirley, Mass. from Sept. 6 to Oct. 11, a show highlighted by a special Artist’s Reception on Sunday, Sept. 20.


The exhibit will feature 11 paintings, almost all of which are abstract works. This reflects the artist’s development since his student days. Mr. Morton grew up in Groton, the town next door, and studied at the Boston Museum School. He has been showing his work in galleries for almost 30 years. He began as an impressionist, then moved through many different genres of painting, including expressionism, minimalism, allegory, and geometric and lyrical abstraction.

Many of the paintings in this exhibit come from pictures that had languished in an unfinished state for many years, until a recent breakthrough in working methods. Currently, in returning to those pictures, he has found an altogether new perspective on them. The original idea is still there, but instead of feeling the need to retain the same structure of that image he lets new ideas take over. He allows new insights to guide him, often radically changing the original image, “letting go of the notion that I need to retain the original image.” He continues to get closer to the dynamic that most fascinates him, “the give and take between artist and work.” He now feels his working methods can “respond to the vagaries of my day-to-day interior life.”

Mr. Morton sees the process as an interaction between the artist and the art. “A conversation begins. I come up with an idea, then the painting makes a suggestion…it becomes a long ride of give and take.” A lot of Mr. Morton’s method is instinctual, beginning with “an inspiration, a jumping-off point.” Then the painting, in a sense, takes on a life of its own. “Then all bets are off,” the artist says, describing himself as sort of a spectator of the process while being its creator. This dynamic sometimes leads to a rethinking of his own work even after he has completed it. Occasionally, a long ago completed painting will reveal itself as undone and “won’t let me rest until I bring it back to the studio,” he says.

In earlier years Mr. Morton created representational expressionist works that art aficionados might be tempted to call surrealist. “Divergent,” one of the paintings in the show, “has a lot of surrealist ideas going on. I want people to have the feel of something representational.” Some of his work indeed does have a surrealist tone. “I’m not a big fan of surrealist painters, but I’m fascinated by surrealist concepts. There’s certainly more to be mined” in the surrealist vein of painting, he says.

The Artist’s Reception will be held at Gallery Sitka on Sunday, Sept. 20, 2 – 4 p.m. Visit and for more information about Dug Morton and his artwork.

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