Morgan Salter’s latest series focuses on tapestry drawings

Amanda Jess
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NEW GLASGOW – Morgan Salter draws a line with charcoal on paper, and it’s there to stay.

That’s one of the aspects of drawing that the NSCAD-New Glasgow artist-in-residence enjoys.

“I really like the aspect of drawing that you can always see the imperfections and mistakes because you can never quite get rid of what was there before.”

The 22-year-old likes that her work will always hold the history of the process.

Her latest series will include 12 large-scale pieces based on handmade tapestries. The first four, inspired by Persian rugs, are now hanging at the Look Up Art Gallery at Eventide Art Hub.

“The handmade part is important for me because it brings up the question of authorship,” she notes. “Since it’s being made by another artist or craft-person already, there’s the question of is it original work for me to reproduce someone else’s original work?”

Another thing she’s thinking about in her work is the similarities between art and tapestries as purchases for the middle to upper classes.

 “You’re laboring away with your hands for a long time, producing luxury goods. I’m interested in how those two – textile production and art making – coincide.”

It also gives her the chance to explore a colourful pattern in black and white, allowing the shapes and lines to be the focal point.

This series evolved out of drawings of the interior of an imagined apartment. She focused on furniture and belongings, with one including a quilt in the background. 

“I thought that worked quite successfully – the kind of abstraction the pattern makes when all the colour and exactness of textiles is taken out of it.”

Growing up in Dartmouth and on the south shore, she was always interested in art. Salter didn’t know she’d pursue it, but she can remember having drawing competitions with friends, feeling confident in her skill.

Even outside of her work, she’s always been interested in creating work with her hands.

She spends her spare time rug hooking, knitting and cooking delicious scones.

Salter made her first hooked rug this year for a group show called “Redux” in Dartmouth.

“I do consider that my art as well. It’s something I work on at home, putting a lot of hours into that is different from anything I’ve done before.”

When she was attending high school in Bridgewater, she had been planning to go to NSCAD University.

“NSCAD was always a place that I was aware of. I come from a family that is heavily involved in the arts, and three of my four parents went to NSCAD.”

She debated about fine arts or analytical writing before deciding on arts.

She studied painting for a few years, but knew it wasn’t her forte.

After graduating last year, she moved to New Glasgow in September for a year of studio time.

It’s an opportunity that she says she’s getting used to, and won’t be able to do without.

“Having the affirmation that you can be an artist and you can, right out of school, devote your days to doing this is really beneficial and important,” she says. “Here we’ve been given the opportunity that’s basically your job. You’ve also been told that you’re good enough to do it and it’s worth pursuing.”

She hopes to continue with the momentum in Halifax after the residency ends, while applying for masters programs for 2015.

Salter’s show entitled “Warp and Weft: New Drawings by Morgan Salter” runs until April 27 and can be viewed at Eventide Art Hub by appointment or during regular hours Tuesday through Sunday.

On Twitter: @NGNewsAmanda


Organizations: NSCAD-New Glasgow, NSCAD University

Geographic location: Dartmouth, Bridgewater, New Glasgow Halifax

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