Archive

reflection

Nope this isn’t a post about some amazing achievement or that I have somehow have a bank account in the black.  Its more of a reflection on what success is for me, and specifically in my art practice.  Whilst teaching here in Saas Fee (means to fund my art practice) I get asked a lot by my guests whether my artwork/practice is successful.  The two means for validation lie mainly on me telling them whether I sell my work regularly or am I famous.  I guess in this day and age you know one unless you are on some list of success even if you are Z list Celeb…

I am honest with my guests, I am not known however like most emerging artists we are labeled so for that very reason.  As for selling, it has not been a focus within my practice to make specifically objects.  Commodifying an art practice is something we all contemplate throughout our years.  However at present I rely on my snowboard coaching as a source of income whilst I develop my voice and direction in my practice.

Success for me is nothing to do with money or notoriety and its something I feel is harder to gain.  It is purely one thing for me and the works I make which is conversation or discussion (discourse if you want art-speak 2.0).  This very basic element within the art world and beyond is not that easy to gain.  Yes in the era of social media it is easy to put work out there for more to see but to hear back is not so simple.  There is very little echo from the majority of not just my work but my peers.  The little that does come back is more of support from fellow creatives who spur you on.  However for me I seek success in the form of something more in the conversation that good art creates.  Don’t get me wrong this is not purely about adulation or people describing works as life changing its the chat surrounding how it engages and interacts on different levels and people.  This discussion is not always sought from those that like or get the work but rather negative and constructive response is just as valid.  I come from a belief that good work is so when you have a response to it this can be in the form or negative: repulsion, hate or anger.  Whilst also the positive: resonates, refreshes perspective or challenges existence.  Work that sits in the middle is what just fades.

Following on from my previous post about being adrift, the reason to currently make work whilst not be located within a place or group.  I see this isolation as a hard time to know where to exhibit or present work when I barely exist.  For me the motivation of making work when I deep down know that the rational for the work being successful is this conversation adds to stalling of making.  The works are still there in my head and whilst I navigate the next few years I will create. However finding a means to connect with networks or environments where I can gage the validity of the work is part of the process and for me right now is the biggest challenge.

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Since arriving here in Stockton my time has been spent exploring not just the local landscape but also my current limits of my practice. I came here looking to examine how I install current workings of sonic works and how I can develop or bridge the gap that I find between what I am making and what I am trying to offer.

The first few weeks were spent contemplating speaker architecture and how installing speaker drivers within a form that dissolved or collapsed whilst it functioned worked.  Drawing on the inspiration of the local area and its regeneration hopes/plans.  I have been thinking heavily about addition and reduction as methods of creation both in sound and process works.  Glitch process that I have been known to use is a perfect example of how regeneration seems to operate, existing ideology is rehashed the result is urban planning that though clearly considered it is not until it is implemented you realise the functional errors of such planning.

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The focus on heritage and community, the life and death of generations that have called a place home.  The time that passes by and the marks those leave on a place last longer than structures in many cases.  Replacing old is not something that should be done without consideration and awareness for those that live within it.  The Auxiliary residency is based within a community that is exposed to many different social factors.  It is an opportunity to live within a place that is struggling to come to terms with how it should function.  The oddity is that with all the trials and time that it takes to rejuvenate a place it somehow still continues, functions without much thought.  Time will change the nature of a community however daily this is not something that is really brought to your attention as each day was like the last.

Mid way through this residency my father has a stroke which alongside my research here at the Auxiliary has given me a new perspective.  Seeing a parent go through a life changing moment in their existence brings reality home.  I have recently been back and forth between the residency and my parents to see how my father has progressed with his recovery.  Even though I have not been making as much as I would of hoped it has provided much needed reflection, thinking more about the sound works that have been started yet not finished.  The last few weeks here in Stockton I hope to realise some new works with little or no focus on completion yet more or presenting something that is mobile/fluid and evolving.  15107435_10157615606300018_3800575047413753897_n.jpg

 

 

Joel Morrison, Target Painting, 2015
Joel Morrison
Target Painting, 2015
Stainless steel
188 x 137,2 x 10,2 cm
© Joshua White – Courtesy of the Artist and Almine Rech Gallery
 
 
JOEL MORRISON
Steel Life Crisis
 
April 17 – May 16, 2015
 
Los Angeles-based artist Joel Morrison creates sculptures and wall works that are slick, highly polished and desirable. They are also changelings born from the waste and excess of a consumerist culture. His stainless steel artworks are dystopian aberrations made up of quotidian discarded objects found around his neighborhood and studio in Los Angeles. Broken bits of trolley, balloons, blankets and hammers are reassembled and repurposed into cool, luxe looking artworks. They are, Morrison calls them, “a collage of scenarios”. Often times amorphous and indeterminate, his works are dynamic and full of movement. Found objects are encased sarcophagus-like in a coat of stainless steel bulging and straining against their silver skin, struggling to break out.
 
Morrison critically addresses contemporary consumerist culture with his found object sculptures while playing with visual tropes of art history. A 2012 Hong Kong exhibition brought together references from classical Greek sculpture, Duchampian ready-mades, Arte Povera, and pop art. Like an alchemist Morrison deftly fuses and layers a palimpsest of references from music, pop culture, and art history. High and low culture, figuration and abstraction, the mechanical and handmade, are brought into union with irreverence and humour to create his own visual language.
 
Morrison’s works bridge the distance between viewer and art object, demanding engagement and interactivity. Using an approach to art production rooted in L.A’s Finish Fetish movement of the 1960s and ‘70s — characterized by its obsession with slick surfaces and polished perfection — Morrison takes advantage of the material he works with to play with temporality, and to ask questions about the viewer’s relationship to art. Like narcissus the viewer is seduced and drawn in by the reflective surface of the works. They abstract and distort everything they reflect in real time, lending the otherwise monochromatic pieces a mutable colour palette and contemporaneity. The works are both alien to their surrounding environment and part of it.
 
The freestanding and wall works give the appearance of spontaneity and immediacy, of objects haphazardly thrown together, but this belies the painstaking production process required to complete the works. Eschewing the typical route of mechanical big studio art production, Morrison makes his pieces from mold and lost wax casting: “the simplest and oldest method of replicating objects into metal.”  The approach is lo-fi and old school, allowing for the artist’s hand to be glimpsed in a fingerprint, or indentations from the casts, raising questions about contemporary art production and the role or importance of the artist’s singularity.
 
For his third exhibition with Almine Rech Gallery, Morrison reworks Frank Stella’s flat and geometric minimalist protractor paintings, reinterpreting them as three-dimensional stitched cargo blankets. They hang across what look like canvases, but are in fact mirrors, which remain concealed, denying the viewer the sight of their undistorted self-portrait. The ‘Target Painting’ series (2015) has its genesis in a Robert Morris corner piece covered in a cargo blanket spotted by the artist in art storage. “Things end up in crates, in backrooms. They become such a commodity and it’s important to be able to laugh at that aspect,” Morrison explains. He turns the focus onto the superficial protective layer, highlighting the commodified nature of the art industry where artworks sit like trophies in storage, unseen and swathed in their protective wrappers.
 
While the Target Painting series makes up the basis of the show, Morrison also introduces a corner piece, again recalling Robert Morris’ minimalist ‘Untitled (Corner Piece)’ (1964). This time the work sits bare and unprotected by a cargo blanket. Radiating out of a Tupperware container’s centre are rays of a sunrise, a reference to Kenneth Anger’s occult inspired ‘Lucifer Rising’. This piece provides a more esoteric counterpoint to the exhibition while at the same time tying the works in the exhibition together through its geometric composition.
 
Joel Morrison (born in 1976, Seattle, Washington) has exhibited widely in the U.S and abroad, with solo exhibitions at Almine Rech Gallery Paris (2014) and Brussels (2012); and the Wexner Center for the Arts, Columbus, OH (2011). Institutional group exhibitions include One Way: Peter Marino, Bass Museum of Art, Miami, FL (2014); The Avant-Garde Collection, Orange County Museum of Art, Newport Beach, CA (2014); Signals, Orange County Museum of Art, Newport Beach, CA (2008); Tangible Sculpture Today, Kolbe Museum, Berlin (2007); California Biennial, Orange County Museum of Art, Newport Beach, CA (2006); Anstoss Berlin, Haus Am Waldsee Museum, Berlin (2006); and Thing: New Sculpture from Los Angeles, Hammer Museum, Los Angeles, CA (2005). Joel Morrison lives and works in Los Angeles, California.
 
Diana d’Arenberg
 
 
ALMINE RECH GALLERY
11 Savile Row, Mayfair
London
W1S 3PG
T: +44 (0)20 72 87 36 44