Patricia Carr Morgan’s work focuses on construction of reality and cultural myth. REALITY is a good likeness highlights some of the perceptions that fuel the American psyche. The photographs in the exhibition can be used to ask students to think critically about how our sense of reality, memory, and narratives are constructed, influenced or altered.
The exhibition includes three series. Out of the Past uses classic film noir as backdrop, while the new images trace the history of photographic process from the beginning to the digital age. Morgan combines the old (film stills) with the new (staged still life displays) using a pinhole camera to re-photograph the scene. united states (title purposely in lower case) looks at iconic Western films that have shaped the myth of our American past. Morgan combines film stills from these Western films with her own contemporary photographs, confronting the viewer with the reality of the American West versus the romanticized versions displayed in film. In Alligator Balls and Cotton Candy, unmediated county fair images from across the country illuminate the great breadth and diversity of interests and aspirations of people from different regions, who nevertheless all represent what it means to be American. Included in this series are diptychs (whole image made from two images set side by side). With the addition of each new image, a new perception or narrative is created.
Looking, really looking, is a learned skill. Without the ability to look, students will not be able to interpret. Take time at the start of the tour to practice this skill with your students with a fun and non-threatening activity.
Instruct students to sit down in one of the galleries as a group. Ask them to look at one work for three minutes without saying anything- just look at it. Have them write a four line poem that describes the work. Students can read them aloud and have their peers try to guess what image they wrote about. “What do you see in the image that relates to their poem/word choice?”
Line One- Short phrase or a title for the image
Line Two- Action phrase (ex. falling down a hill)
Line Three- Simile (phrase with the construction “as” or “like”)
Line Four- Another title or short phrase
Objective: Students will understand that images are versions of reality constructed through choices made by the photographer.
Shoeboxes, small wooden boxes
Photos, memorabilia (students)
Educational materials adapted from the interpretative strategies written by Cass Fey http://reality-is-a-good-likeness.com/exguide.html
University of Arizona Museum of Art & Archive of Visual Arts
1031 North Olive Road
Tucson, AZ 85721-0002