Morgan Scott MacDonell
Morgan MacDonell is a second year MFA graduate in the 3D4M program at the University of Washington. Pulling from a personal history and background in food service, his work focuses on the experiences of service industry workers. Through observing the handling of materials in his work and often through familiar references to common food products, he hopes to invite the viewer into a conversation about the multiple perspectives of everyday transactions within the world of the service industry. The focus on minimalism in the work is meant to reduce the appearance of the objects to focus the conversation towards one that could be meaningful to a wide range of viewers and engage the physical space shared by the sculpture and viewer.
The work functions similarly to a memorial where memories of work life, current or past, can be reflected on from a more distant position. This artwork provides space for contemplation about the structures that we move through without much thought and about what it takes emotionally and physically to upkeep them. The consequences of this disconnect between consumer and server over decades has resulted in the economic and social devaluing of people who were recently deemed “essential workers”. It’s an important relationship to consider in America especially as the majority of jobs are now a part of the service industry and one’s job within America is widely understood as a person’s direct value. This disparate and complex relationship when questioned brings up challenging thoughts about what community looks like, where meaning comes from, how we subconsciously choose to value or even decide who can talk to one another.
- Stephanie Hanes, Chair
- Michael Swaine
- Juliet Sperling
- MFA, 3D4M: ceramics + glass + sculpture, University of Washington, 2022
- BA, Studio Art, Kenyon College, 2017
Excerpt from commentary by Kascha Semonovitch
Morgan MacDonell balances a formal ceramic practice and a socially-oriented installation practice. He has carried them both through his formative art years and MFA, and he intends to continue balancing these practices….The series explores the relationship between the food industry, service workers, and consumers: “the conditions that affect people and really shape their sense of everyday life both from the side of being the customer and then a worker. And when you’re not being a worker and you’re being a customer. And…how labor affects us and…that there are some things that make living and finding meaning difficult. A lot of the work was created in situations using architectural space and familiar objects and food and stuff like that in the workplace.