Spellerberg Projects

Morgan Grigsby, When Time Was Young

Exhibition • May 11–June 8, 2024

Gallery hours
Saturday, May 11, 11am-3pm
Saturday, May 18, 11am-3pm
Saturday, May 25, 11am-3pm
Saturday, June 1, 11am-3pm
Friday, June 7, 6–9pm – Artist’s Reception
Saturday, June 8, 11am-3pm – Last Look

Artist’s Statement

I live on the Gulf coastal plains of Texas on the outskirts of a small town near Houston called Sugarland. It was established as a company town in the nineteenth century to produce sugar cane. As an adult, I learned that the town’s enormous success was made possible by the secret exploitation of black labor used during the Reconstruction era. With this information, it became imperative for me to speak about my heritage as a black Texan. Therefore, I decided to use my knowledge of black history in Texas to create artwork about our experiences since we were historically excluded from the American dream.

My subjects are black people I grew up with on the Gulf Coast engaging in outdoor activities or within a calm domestic interior. Their poses range from casual to art historic and as part of my creative process, I use oil paint to create imaginative color schemes while still having the ability to capture realistic effects of the atmosphere. This invites the viewer into a unique private space where light and color guide the overall mood of each painting.

​I became interested in how black contemporary artist reclaim their racial identity and ethnic image to challenge the history of racial stereotypes that have contributed to the inequalities in our current society and my goal is to have my paintings coexist within this modern wave of black American storytelling. Likewise, my artwork questions how society can expand its understanding of black youth. And how the effects of living within an American subculture have caused each generation of African Americans to disassociate from the larger society.

About the Artist

Morgan Grigsby (b. 2001) lives and works in Texas, and is known for his contemporary realist oil paintings that are inspired by his personal experiences growing up on the Gulf Coast as a black Texan. He has exhibited in solo exhibitions such as The Spellerberg Project gallery in Lockhart, Texas (2024) and at The Calaboose African American History Museum in San Marcos, Texas (2023). His numerous group exhibitions include The Big Show, at Lawndale Art Center in Houston, Texas (2023), Assemblage, at The University of Houston Clear Lake Art Gallery in Houston, Texas (2023) and, the student juried exhibition at Texas State Galleries in San Marcos, Texas (2021- 2023). Grigsby was also honored with the Best in Show award in the student juried exhibition (2023) and The Special Merit award at The Houston Livestock Show and Rodeo (2018).