Annie Morris turns grief into unstable colorful sculptures

artwork

Charlotte Janssen

Annie Morris, set up view of Oscar Niemeyer’s suite at Château-la-Coaste, 2022. Picture by Stephane Abudram | We’re the content material (contents). Courtesy of Chateau La Coste.

Annie Morris, set up view at Château-la-Coast, 2022. Picture by Stephane Abu Dram | We’re the content material (contents). Courtesy of Chateau La Coste.

An ice cream store seems on the finish of the highway to Annie Morris’s North London studio. In summer season, it attracts lengthy traces of consumers, who’re proven holding cones that swing with brightly coloured balls. Eventually, somebody’s transaction turns the wrong way up and falls: each second of ecstasy comprises the potential for loss and despair.

Morris completely embodies this sentiment via her drawings, thread work, and sculptures (for which she is known). Though the British artist attracts inspiration from her personal traumas, she evokes emotions of common fragility and fears that happiness could also be upended. “I believe many artists discover via tragedy that their greatest work comes via,” Morris stated. “I’ve a good friend who says, ‘Do not be completely happy, you will by no means make a very good factor! “

Portrait of Annie Morris at Château-la-Coast, 2022. Picture by Idris Khan.

The artist walked in steady circles across the military of her vertiginous “Stack” sculptures, which fill her studio – a former hummus manufacturing unit in Stoke Newington. To make the sculptures, she sculpts uncooked balls into foam, layers them with sand and plaster (and most not too long ago, bronze), and eventually paints them in vivid colours. Then Morris easily “stacks” the balls at totally different heights and invisibly connects them to the metal. This final step creates the phantasm of equilibrium, making their huge constructions look unstable like a pile of child constructing blocks.

Maurice had simply returned from the opening of her final solo exhibition on the Château la Coste in Aix-en-Provence, France. The gallery shows new bronze and foam sculptures, oil work, and a brand new huge tapestry. They’re all displayed in and across the Oscar Niemeyer-designed suite on the Middle for Up to date Artwork. Altogether, Morris’ sensual items generate dialogues about shade, type, mild and area inside the clear, curved glass and straight concrete traces of Niemeyer structure.

Annie Morris, set up view of Oscar Niemeyer’s suite at Château-la-Coaste, 2022. Picture by Stephane Abudram | We’re the content material (contents). Courtesy of Chateau La Coste.

At first look, Morris’ work emits a spirit of defiance and exhilaration of optimism. Vibrate with life. Nevertheless, the artist started making her signature “Stacks” almost a decade in the past, with their spherical shapes mirroring the form of a being pregnant she misplaced in 2014. Morris applies uncooked pigment to them, creating intense, undeniably cool tones. She stated her shade mixtures derive from instinct, experimentation, and play.

Through the years, the “stacks” have turn out to be extra vibrant and lifelike in type, and extra bold in measurement and construction: within the gardens of the Château-la-Coaste, Maurice has completely put in her largest bronze to this point. For this new work, she needed to protect the colourful colours of the uncooked pigments she used with the froth pellets. To this finish, she burns pure sulfates and nitrates on her bronze surfaces. Its huge, six-foot-high tower now swings in opposition to the backdrop of the French countryside.

Morris refers to “Stacks” as “characters”. “Once I encompass them within the studio, they positively have conversations with one another,” she stated. Morris started introducing them in pairs to amplify their communication and completely happy exchanges. After they appear to bounce drunk in the direction of the sky, they’re displaying their symbolic essence.

Annie Morris, set up view at Château-la-Coast, 2022. Picture by Stephane Abu Dram | We’re the content material (contents). Courtesy of Chateau La Coste.

Nevertheless, the origins of the items stay “essential” for the artist, as a result of it’s “the earth-shattering expertise that defines them”. “As I transfer via life and create these sculptures, it is a manner of remembering this factor that is misplaced — it’s totally comforting in a manner,” Morris stated. “I believe persevering with to make them nonetheless curiosity me due to that, as a result of it is nonetheless crucial to me to maintain that a part of me alive.”

After her first institutional solo exhibition in Yorkshire Sculpture Park, When One thing Pleased Falls, and her participation in final 12 months’s Frieze Sculpture, Morris’s exhibition in France can be a homecoming for “Stack” sculptures particularly. Educated on the École des Beaux-Arts in Paris for 5 years, the artist honed the foundations of a sculptural apply beneath the tutelage of Arte Povera pioneer Giuseppe Benoni. “The college was distinctive, and it was about making an attempt issues and taking part in with supplies — it was an precise course of,” Morris stated.

On the time, Morris was making enormous statues of owls. She was fascinated by its form and made one out of crimson clay with Penone. Morris was additionally throwing uncooked pigment — primal sepia tones created from a dozen powdered pencils — onto canvas, which match her artwork pupil’s finances higher than the luxurious and hanging shades of cobalt and turquoise she now makes use of repeatedly.

When the artist returned to the UK to proceed her research at Slade, she briefly deserted her experiences with uncooked dye, returning to technique solely when she started making “Stacks”. “I needed to maintain the crispness of that lovely texture, that dryness, the crispness that you simply get from that uncooked dye,” she stated.

France can be the part-time residence of Maurice; her husband, fellow artist and frequent collaborator Idris Khan (the 2 plan a double exhibition subsequent 12 months); and their two youngsters. Ten years in the past, the couple started renovating an outdated farm and barn overlooking a winery in Bergerac, within the Dordogne, with a studio in a former wine store. “It seems to be like a fairly large a part of the panorama there, and also you discover the best way the tall grasses flip shiny crimson initially of August,” Morris stated. Her concepts for colours and mixtures usually emanate from this rustic setting, or from the outskirts of Sussex, within the English countryside, the place Maurice and her household spend many weekends. Morris sees herself as a part of a path of artists – keep in mind Robert Rauschenberg and Anthony Tappes – who distill shade and composition into their easiest varieties and rework them into highly effective impartial emotional forces.

At all times fascinated about exploring an area “someplace between portray and sculpture,” Morris’s work is all rooted within the fast and spontaneous sketches and preparatory drawings she creates utilizing supplies starting from peruvian to crayons to an oil stick. Day by day within the studio begins with drawing. Twelve of Maurice’s drawings are actually on show on the Château la Coste. Their flourishing, raised traces evoke the work of Philip Guston or the drawings of Willem de Kooning.

Annie Morris, set up view of Oscar Niemeyer’s suite at Château-la-Coaste, 2022. Picture by Stephane Abudram | We’re the content material (contents). Courtesy of Chateau La Coste.

Morris’ fluid, impromptu power seeps into her playful sculptures and playful textiles; The centerpiece of the brand new exhibition is a big hand-embroidered semi-abstract piece titled crimson highway (2022) – Its largest and most bold tapestry to this point. “It was extremely time consuming even supposing it got here from a really quick and automated drawing, however I wasn’t positive I might end on time!” She stated.

crimson highway Options surreal, expressionless characters with flowers the place faces ought to be. The composition is a double portrait of types, based mostly on the artist and her mom. The sculptural traces of the thread itself deliver a vibrant texture. Morris stated he paperwork an “unlucky incident by which my father was concerned.” She needed to convey the sensation that “flowers are very short-term – their magnificence is there for a short while after which fades and disappears. I like the truth that in drawings, emotions are conveyed inside the feminine determine via withered petals.”

Annie Morris, set up view of Oscar Niemeyer’s suite at Château-la-Coaste, 2022. Picture by Stephane Abudram | We’re the content material (contents). Courtesy of Chateau La Coste.

Just like the servers on the ice cream store, who deliver a smile to their faces all summer season with hand-held piles of melted sugar, Morris is uniquely expert at turning unhappy moments into experiences that “ignite hope and power to heal, encourage, and uplift the soul,” stated Georgina Cohen, Gagossian director and curator. Within the Chateau La Coste.

“If you undergo one thing huge, you discover out what’s inside you,” Morris stated. “We have been born right here and we’re right here for a short while – all the pieces goes by so quick. All of us really feel unhappy, it is throughout us – it is exhausting to take your eyes off it, it is there, it is hovering in entrance of you – we attempt to fend it off however we have now to take care of it. I needed to create one thing the other – Realm, a journey that takes you away from that.”