Tom Morin: 25 Exhibit Showcases At Sarofim
A solo gallery exhibition featuring the photography of Tom Morin, Southwestern alumni, will showcase from Oct. 3 to Nov. 12 at the Sarofim Fine Arts Gallery. The gallery is open Tues.-Sun. from 12 p.m. to 5 p.m., and a reception will take place Sat., Oct. 19 at 5 p.m.
“I’m honored to be offered the opportunity to have this exhibition at Southwestern since this is the place where the idea of becoming a photographer happened,” Morin said.
Morin intended to study pre-law because most of his role models during his childhood were attorneys. He decided he wanted to become a professional photographer upon arriving at Southwestern.
“Since I made the decision to switch from pre-law to studio art, I’ve never looked back,” Morin said. “I’ve had great friends and mentors who have guided me and provided sound advice. Those relationships have shaped me and as a result shaped my work.”
Morin graduated from Southwestern in 1994. He said his capstone “created some controversy among the student body.”
“I don’t look for controversy, but the beauty of art is that everyone has an opinion, and thankfully we can vocalize our opinions in a respectful manner whether we agree or disagree with a piece of art,” Morin said. “Professor Mary Visser told me to embrace it because controversy can be a powerful vehicle for dialogue, and artists generally like controversy for this reason. I’ll always remember her advice.”
After graduate school, Morin enlisted in the Texas State Guard and became their official photographer.
“About halfway through my service in the Guard, the thought of blending photography with service came up and I requested a transfer into the public affairs office,” Morin said. “Being an official photographer for the Guard was a great honor and an amazing experience. I’m very grateful to have earned the trust of the leadership and my peers to document them.”
Some of the photos Morin took while in the Guard were adapted for his Service series to be featured in the exhibit.
“I was following a tried-and-true path using a documentary style of photography with the exception of the post development in Lightroom,” Morin said. “I decided to add a lot of rough grain to the image which wasn’t seen in digital prints at the time. More than one esteemed photo curator couldn’t distinguish whether the final print was from an analogue or digital image. I like that kind of ambiguity in my work.”
On the other hand, photos in the Metaphor and Remnants series were not altered after the fact.
“I’ve always tried to challenge myself and push my aesthetic,” Morin said. “In the 1990’s and early 2000’s, I tried to create images that I hadn’t seen before using common objects in the Metaphor and Remnants series, yet the final prints for these two series are created in a traditional manner.”
Overall, the “mid-career retrospective exhibit” titled “25” includes 30 of Morin’s photographs taken between 1992 and 2017.
“Each image is a building block to the next image,” Morin said. “Having said that, there are a lot of photographs that I thoroughly enjoy which either don’t fit into the context of this exhibition or there is not enough room in the gallery to visually display all of them.”
Not only have his series been 25 years in the making, but Morin started scoping out the gallery last spring.
“One of the unique aspects of photography as an art medium is that you can scale your work according to the exhibition space and replicate a near identical image larger or smaller based on your preference,” Morin said. “Southwestern has a beautiful gallery, and the walls are large. I decided to take advantage of the space and make multiple sizes of the prints based on each series of work.”
Morin and his team, including Laura Sewell, director of the Sarofim School of Fine Arts, Professor Mary Visser, formerly Morin’s undergraduate mentor, and Seth Daulton, the gallery director, began setting up the exhibit on Oct. 2. Morin said he was “fortunate to have a lot of long-term friendships with people who can help pull this exhibition together.”
“As an artist, you have to work with a lot of individuals with multiple specialties,” Morin said. “For a mid-career retrospective exhibition, there’s a lot of preparation and coordination for everyone involved and, of course, the artist takes the onus of the amount of preparation and coordination which is appropriate. For me, this is a wonderful part of the process.”
When asked what message he wants to convey through his artwork, Morin responded that he “prefer[s] to leave the interpretation of [his] work for the viewers.”
“My work can be interpreted in a lot of ways which allows interesting dialogue from the viewers,” Morin said. “The joy for me is creating the work and having the honor to visually display it in a gallery.”