John Hurrell – 29 August, 2010
With the different degrees of colour saturation, and the amount of pigment suspended in the water and acrylic medium during application, the tiny particles of brushed on paint tend to gather along the outer vertical edge, and are thinner towards the centre. Despite this interesting, incredibly nuanced, factor, these paintings end up being too bland, for they look like student exercises in tone or saturation, lacking visual dynamic and emotional impact.
13 August - 4 September 2010
Eight ‘daily paintings’ from Simon Morris are stretched out in a long line on the main wall in the narrow upstairs gallery at Two Rooms. Each one is on brown linen placed over a 360 x 360 mm stretcher, that woven square divided into five equally wide vertical strips, each line allocated for a working day, each canvas symbolising a working week.
The logic of the works is this, that every day Morris paints one further layer of thin acrylic onto the surface of each stretcher, but leaves a vertical strip untouched (on the left) of the previous day’s layer. With the Two Rooms selection, made from a larger pool of works, a tooth-providing and sealing coat of transparent size on the linen is left exposed so that the subsequent acrylic layers (four of them) can gradually build on that.
With the different degrees of colour saturation, and the amount of pigment suspended in the water and acrylic medium during application, the tiny particles of brushed on paint tend to gather along the outer vertical edge, and are thinner towards the centre. Despite this interesting, incredibly nuanced, factor, my view is that these paintings end up too bland, for individually they look like student exercises in tone or saturation, lacking visual dynamic and emotional impact. The value of this show lies not in the individual works but in the arrangement of the group, especially when seen in the natural light coming in through the skylight and bouncing off the white walls.
Morris’ positioning of his eight paintings overall showcases their qualities of chromatic temperature, cool near the office end of the space, hotter near the blind wall end. Black, lemon yellow and very pale grey one extreme; red, brown and rusty orange the other.
These temperature changes are not within one smoothly transitional gradient however. They sufficiently vary and clash to make a kind of repeating pulse, one that is moved along by the tonal contrast caused by the lefthand strip of each canvas being unpainted - a vertical accentuation.
We thus end up with an elegant grouping where the resulting experience is a lot more than the sum of the parts, the result not of isolated but of co-ordinated elements. A lovely driving orchestration of muted chords along the Two Rooms wall.
GRACE BUTLER MEMORIAL FOUNDATION AWARD AT ARA
3 Month Studio Residency for an Artist with an Association with Canterbury
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