Artist Spotlight | The Imaginary Maps of Aaron Morse

Aaron Morse, “Cloud World (#3)”, 2014.

Aaron Morse is a Los Angeles-based artist whose most recent series of paintings at Acme Gallery displays inventive alternate universes and geographies, immersing the viewer into richly colored scenes of his imagination that seem as real as the tactile paint. An avid backpacker and map enthusiast, Morse’s most recently created worlds of fictional places and topographies are inspired by a fascination with aerial perspectives. 


Aaron Morse, “Super Continent Ur”, 2015.

“My idea was fairly simple,” says Morse, “I wondered if I could make paintings using acrylic that mimicked images from planes or satellites. The resulting works are not real places, and the topography of the individual pieces come through the happenstance of the puddled and stained acrylic, and also the different materials pressed into it to generate texture and patterns.”

Utilizing acrylic to effectively create the unusual range of textures and colors in Morse’s paintings is no easy task. “Sometimes I augment the watered down [acrylic] paint with additional pigment and also use a variety printmaking tricks for texture,” he explains. “I use oil paint regularly, but usually as a final layer, or if there is a certain kind of color or passage that will look better in that medium.”  

Utilizing these little tricks of the trade, Morse gives complexity and depth to his geographic universe, populating them with bodies of water, wilderness, and desert, all seen from a different, illuminating vantage point. Building off his more narrative work of intimate, almost psychedelic nature scenes, the artist’s imaginary maps evoke a planetary consciousness that is out of this world.  

Images courtesy of the artist and Acme Gallery, Los Angeles. 


Also: Exhibit | Jackson Pollock at MoMA, New York