Rebecca Morgan's Bumpkins

June 21, 2012
Rebecca Morgan makes work about her love and hate relationship with the conservative farm town she grew up in. Her drawings and cartoons reflect both a constant critique and a defense of rural living. She investigates the comfort, the familiar, and also the repulsion that comes with the territory of home. Morgan draws larger-than-life self-portraits, set in the woods of a theatrical Appalachia. Morgan looks to the pastoral familiarity of her origins, as she navigates her reverence and aversion to the place that has rejected yet charmed her. She utilizes the thicket of the woods as the place for this introspective investigation, as it is traditionally conveyed as a place outside of social rules and standards. For Morgan, the forest suggests a coarse and hedonistic culture: it is the scene of bonfires, hunting, sex, drunken revelry, fights and perversion. Morgan seeks to express the wilderness as “a place of refuge - a rebellion against privilege and high society. It is a return to primitive and savage inclinations and a site that civilized people have long attempted to repress.”

Out of frustration, cynicism and reclamation, Morgan also operates in the vernacular of cartooning, as she comments on the stereotypes of a “country bumpkin” and “redneck,” as characterized by an idle, vacant and indulgent persona. Morgan comments on the stereotypes of the backwoods hillbilly’s sexual deviance and sloth; the women she portrays embody a Dionysian, fantastical, farmer’s-daughter archetype, sowing their wild oats. Her grotesque cartoons exist in a limbo circling between Hallmark greeting card, Daisy Duke, Mad Magazine, Deliverance and Penthouse Pet.