Annie Morris turns ache into colourful and precarious sculptures


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Annie Morris, set up view of the Oscar Niemeyer Pavilion at Chateau La Coste, 2022. Photograph by Stéphane Aboudaram | WE ARE PLEASED. Courtesy of Château La Coste.

Annie Morris, set up view at Chateau La Coste, 2022. Photograph by Stéphane Aboudaram | WE ARE PLEASED. Courtesy of Château La Coste.

An ice cream parlor seems on the finish of the road that results in Annie Morris’ studio in north London. In the summertime, it attracts lengthy strains of consumers, who emerge holding wobbly cones of brightly coloured balloons. Eventually, somebody’s present drops and falls: contained in every ecstatic second is the potential for loss and despair.

Morris completely captures this sentiment all through her drawings, thread-based works, and sculptures (for which she is greatest identified). Though the British artist attracts inspiration from her personal traumas, she evokes common emotions of fragility and fears that happiness could also be disrupted. “I believe lots of artists discover that by means of tragedy comes their greatest work,” Morris stated. “I’ve a buddy who says, ‘Do not be completely happy, you will by no means do any good!’”

Portrait of Annie Morris at Chateau La Coste, 2022. Photograph by Idris Khan.

The artist walked in steady circles round a military of her dizzying “Stack” sculptures, which fill her studio, a former hummus manufacturing unit in Stoke Newington. To make the sculptures, she carves crude spheres out of froth, coats them with sand and plaster (and, extra not too long ago, bronze), and eventually paints them in lucid colours. Morris then seamlessly “stacks” the balls to completely different heights and invisibly joins them with metal. This closing step creates the phantasm of a balancing act, making her monumental buildings seem as precarious as a stack of youngsters’s constructing blocks.

Morris had simply returned from opening his newest solo present at Chateau La Coste in Aix-en-Provence, France. The present options new bronze and foam sculptures, oil-wood drawings, and a brand new monumental tapestry. All are displayed in and across the up to date artwork heart’s Oscar Niemeyer-designed pavilion. Collectively, Morris’s sensuous items interact in dialogues about coloration, type, mild, and area throughout the clear, curved glass and straight, concrete strains of Niemeyer’s structure.

Annie Morris, set up view of the Oscar Niemeyer Pavilion at Chateau La Coste, 2022. Photograph by Stéphane Aboudaram | WE ARE PLEASED. Courtesy of Château La Coste.

At first look, Morris’s works exude a defiant and jubilant sense of optimism. They vibrate with life. Nevertheless, the artist started making her signature “Stacks” practically a decade in the past, her spherical shapes echoing the form of the being pregnant she misplaced in 2014. Morris applies uncooked pigment to them, creating intense tones and undeniably uplifting. Her coloration mixtures, she stated, stem from instinct, experimentation and play.

Over time the “Stacks” have grow to be extra full of life and sensible in type, extra bold in scale and construction: within the gardens of Chateau La Coste, Morris completely put in his largest bronze to this point. For this new work, he wished to retain the vivid colours of the uncooked pigments he used together with his foam spheres. To realize this finish, he burned pure sulfates and nitrates on his bronze surfaces. Its cumbersome six-foot-tall tower now teeters brilliantly in opposition to the backdrop of the French countryside.

Morris refers to his “Stacks” as “characters”. She famous, “After I’m surrounded by them within the studio, they positively have conversations with one another.” Morris has begun presenting them in pairs to amplify their playful connections and exchanges. Whereas they appear to bop drunkenly in the direction of the sky, they reveal their figurative essence.

Annie Morris, set up view at Chateau La Coste, 2022. Photograph by Stéphane Aboudaram | WE ARE PLEASED. Courtesy of Château La Coste.

Nevertheless, the genesis of the items stays “extraordinarily essential” for the artist, as a result of the “transcendental expertise outlined her”. “As I transfer by means of life and have been creating these sculptures, it is a method of remembering this that was misplaced, it is very comforting in a method,” Morris stated. “I believe persevering with to do them nonetheless pursuits me due to that, as a result of it is nonetheless very related to me to maintain this a part of me alive.”

After his first institutional solo present at Yorkshire Sculpture Park, “When a Comfortable Factor Falls”, and his participation in Frieze Sculpture final yr, Morris’s exhibition in France can also be one thing of a homecoming for the “Stack” sculptures. particularly. The artist skilled on the Ecole des Beaux Arts in Paris for 5 years, perfecting the foundations of her sculptural observe below the tutelage of Arte Povera pioneer Giuseppe Penone. “The college was extraordinary, it was so much about making an attempt issues out, enjoying with supplies, it was actually hands-on,” Morris stated.

On the time, Morris was primarily making large-sized owl sculptures. She was fascinated with the form of it and made one in pink clay with Penone. Morris was additionally throwing crude pigments (rudimentary sepia tones produced from dozens of crushed pencils) onto the canvas, which match her artwork pupil price range higher than the plush, gorgeous shades of cobalt and turquoise she now wears commonly.

When the artist returned to the UK to proceed her research at Slade, she briefly deserted her experiments with crude pigments and solely returned to technique when she began making the “Stacks”. “I wished to retain the brittleness of that lovely texture, that dryness, that brittleness that you just get from that uncooked pigment,” she stated.

France can also be a part-time house for Morris; her husband, fellow artist and frequent collaborator Idris Khan (the 2 plan to carry a twin exhibition subsequent yr); and her two kids. Ten years in the past, the couple started renovating an previous farmhouse and barn overlooking a winery in Bergerac, within the Dordogne, with a studio in a former wine store. “You are feeling lots of the panorama there, you discover the best way the lengthy grasses flip shiny pink in early August,” Morris stated. His concepts about colours and their mixtures are sometimes derived from this rural setting, or from round Sussex, within the English countryside, the place Morris and her household spend many weekends. Morris sees herself as a part of a profession of artists (she mentions Robert Rauschenberg and Antoni Tàpies) distilling coloration and composition into their easiest kinds and turning them into impartial, powerfully emotive forces.

All the time occupied with exploring area “someplace between portray and sculpture,” Morris’s works are rooted within the fast, spontaneous preparatory sketches and drawings she makes with supplies starting from ballpoint pens to coloured pencils to grease sticks. . Each day within the studio she begins with drawing. Twelve of Morris’s drawings are actually on view at Chateau La Coste. Her buoyant, flowing strains evoke Philip Guston’s work or Willem de Kooning’s drawings.

Annie Morris, set up view of the Oscar Niemeyer Pavilion at Chateau La Coste, 2022. Photograph by Stéphane Aboudaram | WE ARE PLEASED. Courtesy of Château La Coste.

Morris’s fluid, improvised vitality spills over into his lush sculptures and playful tapestries; a centerpiece of the brand new exhibition is a big hand-embroidered semi-abstract piece entitled pink street (2022), his largest and most bold tapestry to this point. “He took a very long time despite the fact that he got here from an especially quick and spontaneous drawing, however he wasn’t even certain he might end it on time!” she stated.

pink street options surreal, expressionless feminine figures with flowers the place faces needs to be. The composition is a sort of twin portrait, based mostly on the artist and her mom. The sculptural strains of the thread itself carry the tapestry to life. It paperwork a “unhappy incident involving my mother and father,” Morris stated. He wished to convey the sensation that “flowers are so non permanent, their magnificence exists for such a short while after which decomposes and disappears. I really like the truth that within the drawings the emotion throughout the feminine determine is transmitted by means of the withered petals.”

Annie Morris, set up view of the Oscar Niemeyer Pavilion at Chateau La Coste, 2022. Photograph by Stéphane Aboudaram | WE ARE PLEASED. Courtesy of Château La Coste.

Just like the ice cream parlor waiters who put smiles on faces all summer season lengthy with their handfuls of melted sugar, Morris has a novel potential to show unhappy moments into experiences that “evoke hope and vitality to heal, encourage and encourage”. the soul,” as Georgina Cohen, director of Gagosian and curator of the exhibition at Chateau La Coste, put it.

“While you undergo one thing big, you uncover what’s within you,” Morris mirrored. “We’re born and we’re right here for such a short while, every little thing occurs so quick. All of us expertise ache, it is throughout us, it is arduous to shut our eyes to it, it is there, floating in entrance of you, we attempt to defend it, however we’ve got to take care of it. He wished to create one thing that was the other: a world, a journey that will take you away from that.”

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