Classic American Ephemera Recreated in Clay by Artist Kristen Morgin

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“Monopoly” (2007) (Collection Kristen L. Morgin, image courtesy of the artist and Marc Selwyn Fine Art, Beverly Hills)

Kristen Morgin creates objects that at first seem forgettable. Each piece shows evidence of wear, containing the rust and rips of things that have ceased to be cared for long ago. Despite their appearance of cardboard, tin, and paper, the works, which reflect American culture’s ephemera, are actually created entirely from unfired clay. The records, VHS sleeves, board games, and figurines are all illusions, recreations of mementos lost to time.

Morgin keeps her pieces unfired to retain the natural texture and look of the clay, a material that changes drastically once altered by fire. Like the objects that they imitate, her sculptures are meant to eventually crumble, possibly holding an even shorter lifespan than what they resemble. The content of these works focuses on fantasy versus reality, highlighting celebrity and beauty that has long past, created by a material that is not what it seems.

Morgin’s work is included in the four-artist exhibition “Visions and Revisions: Renwick Invitational 2016” at the Smithsonian American Art Museum’s Renwick Gallery in Washington, D.C. through January 8, 2017. (via Smithsonian Mag)

"Sorryland" (2012), unfired clay, paint, ink and marker, 28 x 20 1/2 x 3 3/4 inches (image courtesy of <a href="http://www.anthonymeierfinearts.com/artists/kristen-morgin/slideshow?view=slider#7" target="_blank">Anthony Meier Fine Arts</a>)

“Sorryland” (2012), unfired clay, paint, ink and marker, 28 x 20 1/2 x 3 3/4 inches (image courtesy of Anthony Meier Fine Arts)

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“The Repeating Table” (2010), wood, books, toys, records with clay painted counterparts, 45 x 68 x 108 inches (image courtesy of Zach Feuer)

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“150 Ways to Play Solitaire” (2010), wood, wire and unfired painted clay, 34 x 34 x 12 inches (image courtesy of Zach Feuer)

"Still Life As The Alphabet" (2013), unfired clay, paint, ink, graphite, wood, 5.5 x 37 x 2 in

“Still Life As The Alphabet” (2013), unfired clay, paint, ink, graphite, wood, 5.5 x 37 x 2 in (image courtesy of Zach Feuer)

"Still Life As A Conga Line" (detail), (2014), unfired clay, paint, ink, graphite, 18 x 96 inches

“Still Life As A Conga Line” (detail), (2014), unfired clay, paint, ink, graphite, 18 x 96 inches (image courtesy of Zach Feuer)

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“Ecstasy Pyramid” (2016), unfired clay, paint, ink, marker, crayon and graphite, 38 x 37 x 2 inches (image courtesy of Anthony Meier Fine Arts)

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“Another Wonderful Day” (2013), unfired clay, pint, ink, crayon, graphite, 12.25 x 12.25 x 0.25 inches (image courtesy of Zach Feuer)

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“Space Invader” (2012), unfired clay, paint, ink, graphite and wire, 13 3/4 x 16 1/2 x 1/4 inches (image courtesy of Anthony Meier Fine Arts)

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