Seasoned Artist, Robert Morgan, passed away this week and will be dearly missed. We are grateful for the opportunity to have been part of his story. Our condolences go out to his family.
Today we take a moment to pause and remember him. In March of 2013, LOFTon2nd was honored to host seasoned artist, Robert Morgan, 83 year old at the time, Australian painter and graphic artist, for a retrospective art show titled, “The Works of Robert Morgan”. This exhibition represented the culmination of over 60 years worth of amazing stories encountered by Morgan.
“It was a splendid place and time! I’m sure we didn’t realize it then – doesn’t every young boy have four miles of water frontage to play about and run all over, a great expanse of water over which to adventure on, a rowing club and sailing club and our own fleet of tin canoes?”
The artist grew up by the shores of Iron Cove Bay in the western suburbs of Sydney NSW, Australia. The bay is part of the estuary system that feeds into the Parramatta River and on towards and under the harbor bridge into Port Jackson, Sydney’s Harbor. Someone was always building a watercraft on one block or another in the area – sailing dinghies and canoes – but usually something more ambitious, 30ft to 40ft ocean-going yachts, which took years to complete. Some of his earliest attempts at self motivated drawing and painting involved subjects from there.
The artist continues, “My formal art education was pursued spasmodically during the between stints on newspapers, magazines, art studios, advertising agencies etc. I attended the Julian Ashton School of Fine Art under Henry Gibbons and Sydney School of Commercial Art with William Holman.”
“The arrival in Canada had been planned with my wife, initially as the first stage of a grand tour working trip around the world. I was able to continue development through several opportune job situations in the Vancouver BC and Toronto Ont. Areas. One of these last had enabled the development of skills in design and presentation. That in turn led to taking time out to study at the Instituto Allende and to paint full time for another semester in San Miguel de Allende Gto. Mexico.”
“When we came out of Mexico to the Los Angeles area – My wife, children and myself, the painting continued anyway, through to a series of large abstract works in synthetic media. Then it became apparent that it was time to move back into regular remunerative work. There followed several years of work on architectural graphics programs, mostly of the more pragmatic kind – until, I found myself assigned to design for a project utilizing more wall space than most artists would dream of handling in a whole lifetime.”
Rob’s years of painting must have been preparation for something. As a Designer within a large professional Architectural Office, he designed the graphic walls of the secure below plaza level spaces and other large walls of a large national bank. Total wall areas were in excess of 35,000 square feet!
It seemed he was on his way, but circumstances changed again and there followed several difficult but still interesting years. During that time, outside of some unforgettable projects which included directional graphics in the Los Angeles Zoo, he designed and coordinated an ambitious extension of the exhibits for the public tour of Lawry’s California Center. On a personal level, he also developed a modular panel system for large graphic walls. Conceptual Designs for exhibits at George C. Page Museum, La Brea Tar Finds, were produced, while consulting with the Architects of that project.
Across the road was Museum Square where he was also heavily involved in the revamp form Prudential Building that it once had been. He had also picked up on his association with Electrical Advertising – Park Plaza near Palos Verdes, Alamedas Bay Harbor at Long Beach, Studio City Plaza on Ventura Blvd., and Arbor Faire in Fresno area, are some of the new or ambitious makeovers which utilized his design skills as an employee or independent consultant.
On more recent painting efforts: The artist is quoted, “Since becoming even more aware of the strong painting themes manifest along Pacific Rim coasts, the focus of my painting activity has been the development of suitable techniques to exploit that material. That and the potential interchange between developed hand skills and refined technology is what excites me!”
Bio by Robert Morgan 2013
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Thank you, Josh, for making the art show opportunity available and for making a great memory of our Dad! –Karon Morgan French