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Blue water colour at Ramp Gallery

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Blue Water Colour. Simon Morris. 2 – 23rd October. Ramp Gallery

A group of 8 small square format paintings displayed in the window space titled “Daily paintings” from their process, form the entrance into Simon Morris’s “Blue water color” at Ramp gallery. A new addition to the ongoing body of work, taking on new physical forms adapting and responding to its architectural underpinning.

On first viewing the work, I was reminded of a quote from a tribute piece too Julian Dashper in The Reading Room Issue 4 (2010) which says, “Take something away to make it stronger”. Morris employs this reductive method in painting to his in-situ work. His approach in a formal scientific-like process — the addition of a specific measure of water to pigment in an exponential manner — along with the brush stroke applied directly to the wall, create a segmented vertical gradient both taking over, and conform to the space it inhabits. Here 59 brush strokes, each created in one single motion, starting from blue.

The large gestural application and its methodology impose a rather poetic presence in the space, where the dilution process talks about taking away more than putting on, expressing the surface it interacts with resulting in a seemingly contemplative environment. This holds a similarity in how people go about their lives, as in Dashper’s words “making it stronger” just like the Chinese philosopher Lao Tzu “To attain knowledge, add things everyday. To attain wisdom, remove things every day.” The unveiling of the surface by way of placing onto it, traces a very representable life process, as we continually conform ourselves constantly to new spaces or ideas. Like the cliché the onion metaphor and less is more.

The human presents is reinforced noticeable when looking at how each brush stroke overlaps. Closer inspection exposes a more subtle presents, in the texture that is brought out from the wall. Too quote the shows text “how the light dances and shifts as the colour and tone decreases”, the pattern exposed resembles how the surface of water looks when the sun dances in its movements. Beginning of the brush stroke revealing more fine abrasive detail, ending in a soft wash. The approach of gallery wall as canvas is discussed in Derrida’s concept of the parergon, whereby it seeks to invoke the discourses of hierarchies involved in painting and the tradition of a formal stretched canvas. In the long history of painting, this process references (not putting too much emphasis on) the cave paintings tradition of site speciality, how to engage with a physical space you have no origin control over in its dimensions, surface and environment.

This temporary work speaks about its location not as an address but the identity of the space & it’s use, where the installation and process create a dialogue with the temporal nature of the gallery space. When this show ends, so in a way does the life of the work, the gallery goes on prepping for the next show. This, the second life of the painting begins as a permanent fixture in the gallery space always sitting just under a few coats of Whistler influenced gallery uniform. As with anything, there resides some form of documentation of existence, even if via a collected memory of the event.

Karl Bayly
#JustKarl

Photo credit: Ramp Gallery

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