October 6, 2012 in Washington Voices

Personal paradise shared in Mimitopia

Artist finds release, herself via painting
Jennifer Larue
 
Tyler Tjomsland photoBuy this photo

Artist Miriam “Mimi” Morgan poses for a photo with some of her works Wednesday, in Medical Lake. Using creativity more as a therapeutic tool, she has fine-tuned her style and skill, painting works filled with feminine energy.
(Full-size photo)

Art quote of the week

“She licks the wound

in solitude, celebration

every pain, triumph

all self-inflicted punishment

a gift.”

From Miriam Morgan’s poem “Grotto Woman”

On the web

www.mimitopia.com

Miriam “Mimi” Morgan has created her own creative paradise called Mimitopia. In this place, she paints female forms that, nude or draped, represent a full gamut of emotions.

To Morgan, the feminine form represents heaven on earth in a way that the male form never could.

“All embryos begin as a female,” she said. “The female form represents creation. All that is springs forth from her womb, and begins its existence as itself female. In this way the feminine is a divine, infinite circle.”

Morgan’s website, mimitopia.com, has an advisory warning that lets visitors know her site contains “artistic nudity,” something that many people are not comfortable with. Morgan understands that uncomfortable feeling because, for years, she struggled with her own sexuality after traumatic and confusing experiences in her youth. Through her art, she has faced her issues head-on, visually telling her story and setting it free.

“I am in all my paintings, whether I intend to be or not. They don’t look like each other, but they all look like me,” she said.

Morgan’s images, done in a mix of charcoal and oil paint with the occasional addition of tissue paper or embroidery floss, are striking and resonate with anguish, contemplation, curiosity, confidence, loneliness, mystery and hope.

Morgan attended Northern Michigan University where, early on, she switched her major from biology to art after working as a nude model in the art department.

“There was always this underlying theme of making peace with my sexuality, and art modeling was a part of that. Well, there I was on that platform, and the sounds, the scents of paint and graphite, the warm light of the lamps, all these things combined told me that there was no place else on campus where I would rather be,” Morgan said.

At first, she thought illustration would be a good bet but that eventually changed to painting.

“I realized that I wasn’t meant to be an illustrator of other people’s ideas. I was meant to explore whatever was hidden deep within me, and find some way to translate that into a thing of beauty.”

She moved to Medical Lake in 1997 when her husband was stationed at Fairchild Air Force Base. Although she continued to paint, it wasn’t until her divorce in 2004 that she finally felt that she had “permission” to be an artist.

Since then she has re-married and been in “creation mode,” something that she considers a “way of life” that enables her to be more nurturing to herself and her family. “Through my work, I believe my boys are learning a healthy respect for women, and are being given small, even doses of spirituality in an open-concept way,” she said, “All that matters is the seeds we plant. The smaller it is now, the bigger it grows later.”

Morgan has rarely exhibited her work but now that she has finally found her “Mimitopia,” she’s eager to find venues to share her version of utopia with others.

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