Morgan Bulkeley, Jr.
Morgan Bulkeley, Jr. was born in the Berkshires in 1944. He grew up on a rural farm here, in Mount Washington, surrounded by the many species of wild animals adopted by his family. Today, these childhood friends, along with the floundering souls of the modern human race, animate the paintings, sculptures, masks, and carved reliefs that Mr. Bulkeley has been exhibiting for nearly forty years.
In 1966, Mr. Bulkeley received a B.A. in English Literature from Yale University. He sculpted and painted in Cambridge, Massachusetts from 1973 until 1985. At that time he returned to Mount Washington with his wife, environmentalist Eleanor Tillinghast, whose family has summered there for many generations. Mr. Bulkeley also has a studio in Great Barrington.
Consistent in Mr. Bulkeley’s work are themes of the collision of culture with nature. Human and animal forms, rendered somewhere between naturalist illustrations and abstracted sculptural figures, between cartoon and hieroglyph, between second and third (and fourth) dimensions, crowd the canvas, competing for space. Natural and man-made settings are littered with the ubiquitous relics of modern consumer culture: packages of gum, statue of liberty souvenirs, beer cans, Donald Duck and Mickey Mouse, and pages and pages and pages of paper.
Humans seem to be having some difficulty in Mr. Bulkeley’s work; always getting into fights, turning natural objects into absurd weapons, though they are not beyond exhibiting tenderness, inquisitiveness, a nesting instinct, and a desire for flight. Their nakedness implies a vulnerability and a bumbling innocence, stray creatures themselves in a world they are trying to manipulate for survival. Not quite walking upright at this stage of their development, they have rendered branches and bark into pencils, dwellings, airplanes, and primitive automobiles, but they fail to see the forest for the fallen trees. Band-aids dress their multiple, self-inflicted wounds. The creator seems not so much judgemental of the human race as he is patiently observant of their comically self-destructive behavior.
In 2006, Mr. Bulkeley teamed up with his father, Morgan Bulkeley, Sr., on Berkshire Stories (Lindisfarne Books, 2004), a compilation of 120 of Bulkeley Sr.’s “Our Berkshires” columns that he contributed to the Berkshire Eagle over a period of twelve years in the sixties and seventies. Bulkeley Jr. provides the book’s illustrations and the cover art for this collection of historical vignettes.
In 1987, DeCordova Museum in New York held a twenty-year retrospective of Bulkeley’s work. His works are also featured in a full-color collection entitled Post-Shopping Wink (Hard Press, 2004). He has received awards for painting and sculpture from the Massachusetts Artists Foundation, DeCordova Museum, the Berkshire Museum, and the Berkshire Art Association.
From 2017 to 2018, the Berkshire Museum in Pittsfield, MA held a 50-year career retrospective entitled "Morgan Bulkeley: Nature Culture Clash." Mr. Bulkeley's work is currently on display at the Bernay Fine Art Gallery on Main Street in Great Barrington and he will have a show at the Howard Yezerski Gallery in Boston this fall.
Morgan Bulkeley, Jr. has served on the board of Bartholomew’s Cobble, a Trustees of Reservations property in Ashley Falls, Massachusetts. For years, he chaired the Mount Washington Arts Council. He has served on the town’s planning board for more than 20 years. He also is a member of the board of Green Berkshires, Inc., an organization dedicated to protecting the mountains and environment of the Berkshires.
Morgan Bulkeley, Jr.
Bash Bish Gap
Oil on canvas, 40" x 96", 1976
Morgan Bulkeley, Jr.’s Homepage - Mr. Bulkeley’s paintings, sculpture, carved reliefs and masks, Bulkeley’s bio and resume, essay by Geoffrey Young
Bernay Fine Art - located at 296 Main Street in Great Barrington.
Howard Yeserski Gallery - located at 14 Newbury Street in Boston - exhibiting the work of Morgan Bulkeley, Jr. and others
Berkshires Stories - 120 of Morgan Bulkeley, Sr.’s “Our Berkshires” columns; witty historical vignettes set in the Berkshires, which appeared on the Berkshire Eagle over a period of twelve years in the sixties and seventies. Illustrated by Morgan Bulkeley, Jr.
Community Involvement Art and the River - Views and Visions of the Housatonic River - Featuring the artwork of Morgan Bulkeley, Jr., Joan Griswold, Bart Elsbach, and others, Art and the River promotes a renewed vision of the Housatonic River as an artistic and literary inspiration of national significance. Proceeds go to a collaborative project for Housatonic River improvement. Link from Housatonic River Summer - a celebration of the arts, culture and nature within the Housatonic Valley.
Bartholomew’s Cobble, a Trustees of Reservations property in Ashley Falls
Green Berkshires, Inc. - dedicated to protecting the mountains and environment of the Berkshires