As I search back through the filing cabinet in my cranium, looking at the many memorable images fashioned by Glenn Morgan, "The Bard of The 'Bool," - generosity is the first word which springs to mind.
Glenn's long and almost uninterrupted association with Warrnambool is well known in art circles. We know this because of Glenn's generously heart-felt depictions of home.
Place is important in art; and here my reference goes beyond the aptly named Place Gallery. Place is important because it gives us the historic, social and political context for the art work, which in turn allows us to read the creation at both a deeper and more personal level. This is at the very crux of the nature of contemporary art; it must speak to us about its own time and place.
Morgan the man and Morgan the artist are inseparable and indivisible entities. Through his art, Glenn offers us all the many diverse parts of his life, the sad and the humorous, the trivial and the major moments. This is what I mean by his generosity.
Glenn has the courage to show us all the facets of his existence; all of his thoughts and feelings, whether it's his view on a particular Geelong footballer, where he might stand on issues such as global warming and social injustice, or of course his deep love of family. Whatever is going on in the Morgan mind, the Morgan world, Glenn willingly shares all this and more with us, his audience. This openness, this display of pure sentiment, standing unashamedly for all to see, is for me a beacon of courageous good spirit.
I now cast my mind back over the many mobile Morgan's, many of which I have had the great pleasure to crank and wind.
Generous again is Glenn, as he allows us, the mug viewer to be directly involved in his dioramas and sculptural art works, as our hands are actively encouraged to twist, move and shake his marvellous characters into action once more.
The figures, so often painted in the trademark "Morgan Pink", are humorous, ridiculous, sublime and beautiful, (quite often, all of these states will occur simultaneously). In fact Glenn holds the proverbial mirror up to us, affording the opportunity to witness our strange and spectacular selves in action: he allows us to laugh and wonder at, even to love our weird and wonderful selves.
Glenn asks us to accept that we are all complex, flawed and fabulous creatures. We are dared to confront our irrational mob mentality, our capacity for whimsy and most of all to acknowledge our human frailty.
This latest exhibition staged at Place Gallery in Richmond, shows Glenn at his very generous, most observant best. Over recent years, "Maestro Morgan" has taken on the tough discipline of pure painting with his typical instinctive verve. He goes in with the full vigour and tackles big tough subjects with an honesty that can only be found in the true artist.
Drought, flood, cyclone and bush fire are amongst his tough subjects, yet he brings his particular Morgan compassion, a real humanity, to these beautifully painted landscapes with the aid of his ever-present quirky eye for detail.
Because Glenn is a reasonable man, because he cares, because he is fair, he knows what we, the ordinary people think. Not only does he voice the opinion of the all ordinaries, but he also speaks our secret thoughts and fears.
I believe that Glenn Morgan's work is so readily appreciated not only for the self-deprecating good humour which lies never far from the surface, but also because he never talks down to us. Glenn always reaches across to us.
We are fortunate to be on equal terms with the artist and we know that he will continue to find novel and intriguing ways to speak to us pictorially.
Glenn might well conclude, by offering one of his famous fond farewells.
- And, as we do, you can bet The Western District, and half The Wimmera for that matter, that Glenn will be there, taking notes for future reference.