I’ve been drawn to the story of artist Ree Morton ever since I read about her in a magazine I can’t even remember now. Much of her work was the sort I’ve had trouble comprehending — large installations with separate spaces and seemingly random objects which I know are not random but aren’t really sure why they’re there which makes me feel obtuse and slightly irritated.
Since I’ve read more about her, I’ve come to understand the installations, a bit. But it is her drawings and her journal which really got me. That, and the fact that she went to nursing school, married a guy who was in the navy and had her first of three kids all before she even realized she wanted to be an artist. Yet that didn’t stop her from going back and doing it.
She is the latest of my Interesting Women subjects. She died ridiculously young, in a car accident, yet in that short span of being an artist, managed to be very successful. I’ve got a copy of an edited journal of hers, in which she showed herself to be thoughtful, creative, driven and funny. An excerpt:
“What a nice thought” — I’ve been saying that a lot lately. Thoughts can give pleasure in a way that approaches the sensual — warm and reassuring — that you try and hold, rather than challenging or dealing with in an analytical way — Like a small frog in your hand, it will be gone soon enough, but what a wonder while it is willing to be still.”