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. Photograph by Stephane Abudram | We’re the content material (contents). Courtesy of Chateau La Coste.

Annie Morris, set up view at Château-la-Coast, 2022. Photograph 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 street to Annie Morris’s North London studio. In summer season, it attracts lengthy strains of consumers, who’re proven holding cones that swing with brightly coloured balls. Ultimately, somebody’s transaction turns the other way up and falls: each second of ecstasy incorporates the opportunity of 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 mentioned. “I’ve a buddy who says, ‘Do not be comfortable, you may by no means make factor! “

Portrait of Annie Morris at Château-la-Coast, 2022. Photograph 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 lately, 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 Modern Artwork. Altogether, Morris’ sensual items generate dialogues about colour, kind, mild and house throughout the clear, curved glass and straight concrete strains of Niemeyer structure.

Annie Morris, set up view of Oscar Niemeyer’s suite at Château-la-Coaste, 2022. Photograph 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. Nonetheless, the artist started making her signature “Stacks” practically 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 mentioned her colour mixtures derive from instinct, experimentation, and play.

Through the years, the “stacks” have change into extra vibrant and lifelike in kind, and extra bold in dimension and construction: within the gardens of the Château-la-Coaste, Maurice has completely put in her largest bronze thus far. For this new work, she wished 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 towards the backdrop of the French countryside.

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

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

Nonetheless, 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 approach of remembering this factor that is misplaced — it’s extremely comforting in a approach,” Morris mentioned. “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 yr’s Frieze Sculpture, Morris’s exhibition in France can also be a homecoming for “Stack” sculptures specifically. Educated on the École des Beaux-Arts in Paris for 5 years, the artist honed the foundations of her sculptural follow underneath the tutelage of Arte Povera pioneer Giuseppe Benoni. “The varsity was distinctive, and it was about making an attempt issues and taking part in with supplies — it was an precise course of,” Morris mentioned.

On the time, Morris was making big statues of owls. She was fascinated by its form and made one out of crimson clay with Penone. Morris was additionally throwing uncooked pigment—darkish primitive tones comprised of a dozen crushed pencils—on canvas, which match her artwork scholar’s price range higher than the luxurious and placing shades of cobalt and turquoise she now makes use of often.

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 wished to maintain the crispness of that lovely texture, that dryness, the crispness that you simply get from that uncooked dye,” she mentioned.

France can also be the part-time house of Maurice; her husband, fellow artist and frequent collaborator Idris Khan (the 2 plan to have a double exhibition subsequent yr); and their two youngsters. Ten years in the past, the couple started renovating an previous farm and barn overlooking a winery in Bergerac, within the Dordogne, with a studio in a former wine store. “It appears to be like like a really giant a part of the panorama there, and I observed the way in which the tall grasses flip vibrant crimson at first of August,” Morris mentioned. 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 views herself as a part of a path of artists—bear in mind Robert Rauschenberg and Anthony Tappes—who distill colour and composition into their easiest types and remodel them into highly effective, unbiased emotional forces.

All the time considering 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. Each day within the studio begins with drawing. Twelve of Maurice’s drawings at the moment are on show on the Château la Coste. Their flourishing, raised strains 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. Photograph 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 street (2022) – Its largest and most bold tapestry thus far. “It was an extremely waste of time even if it got here from a really quick and automated drawing, however I wasn’t positive I might end on time!” She mentioned.

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

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

Just like the servers on the ice cream store, who convey 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,” mentioned 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 mentioned. “We had been born and we’re right here for a short time – the whole lot goes by so quick. All of us really feel unhappy, it is throughout us – it is arduous to take your eyes off it, it is there, it is hovering in entrance of you – we attempt to fend it off however now we have to take care of it. I wished to create one thing the other – Realm, a journey that takes you away from that.”