At first glance, painter Melissa Morgan's Enter Anthropocene embraces an ethereal, flower-childlike bond between humans and nature. But that's where Cassidy Watt—owner of Metallo Gallery (2863 Hwy. 14, Madrid)—says Morgan shows her sleight of hand for subtle metaphor. "There is a celebration in the paintings because they're very beautiful and pretty," says Watt, "but I think there's also a warning there."
That warning can be drawn from the theme's title. If you're not familiar with the term "anthropocene," Watt explains Morgan's interpretation of it as "basically man's interaction with entire planet, whether it's flora, fauna—and more importantly, its negative effects."
In this sense, Morgan's lush nudes with flowers and plant roots growing from their bodies serve as a reverse reminder of how we've decimated the natural world—and consequently, our connectedness to it.
Beyond that, she's simply a gifted painter who's long been featured in group shows at Metallo and, with this body of work, is exhibiting her first solo show there in four years.
As always, Metallo openings (this one landing on Saturday, Aug. 11, from 4 to 8 p.m.) promise more than just a visual experience. Santa Fe band Todd and the Fox will provide tunes and Madrid's The Hollar will cater free finger food. Enter Anthropocene runs through Sept. 30.