Alex Mor­ri­son

3 February–12 March 2011

Alex Morrison

Catri­ona Jef­fries Gallery is pleased to announce an exhi­bi­tion of new work by Vancouver-based artist Alex Mor­ri­son. Over the past decade, Mor­ri­son has inves­ti­gated the aes­thet­ics and poten­tial­i­ties of polit­i­cal protest and sub­cul­ture and the processes by which rad­i­cal and oppo­si­tional impulses become sub­sumed within nor­ma­tive com­modi­ties and habits of cul­tural consumption.

The exhi­bi­tion seeks to ques­tion how ver­nac­u­lar modes are his­tori­cized and sub­se­quently instru­men­tal­ized by way of their trans­for­ma­tion into dec­o­ra­tive sur­faces, unteth­ered from their ori­gins. In think­ing about the soft­en­ing of mod­ernist styles through both post-modernism and folk aes­thet­ics, Morrison’s works reveal how par­tic­u­lar gen­res have been bor­rowed in order to lend a cer­tain sense of author­ity, per­ma­nence or per­ceived refine­ment to the oth­er­wise dis­pos­able late 20th cen­tury built environment.

Con­tin­u­ing to draw from both the artist’s own per­sonal biog­ra­phy as well as from a num­ber of his­tor­i­cal 20th cen­tury move­ments relat­ing to design and archi­tec­ture, the works in the exhi­bi­tion gen­er­ate an atmos­phere of sculp­tural melo­drama. Expand­ing on much of the research he recently con­ducted on the his­tory of Vancouver’s Gas­town — a local neigh­bor­hood where a sense of his­tory and authen­tic­ity was falsely con­structed in order to give a patina of ‘olden times’ — Mor­ri­son has cre­ated a num­ber of new works that observe the visual intri­ca­cies of imi­ta­tive mis­ap­pro­pri­a­tion and what they reveal about processes of his­tori­ciza­tion. For exam­ple, a wooden wall relief nods to the ubiq­ui­tous mock-Tudor cladding often applied to facades of hotels and shops to con­note a gen­teel ‘Eng­land’; a sculp­tural tableau of a com­mon Jade plant (a fix­ture of West Coast bohemian house­holds) mon­u­men­tal­izes the domes­tic and the super 8 film, 1990 (2010/11), cap­tures the his­tor­i­cal Vic­to­ria neigh­bor­hood of James Bay through a suc­ces­sion of nos­tal­gic and sen­ti­men­tal images asso­ci­ated with the medium and con­flated with an accom­pa­ny­ing grunge inflected, bedroom-recorded sound­track played by the artist.

Alex Mor­ri­son (1972) was born in Redruth, UK and cur­rently lives and works in Van­cou­ver. His work will be included in the forth­com­ing exhi­bi­tion, Melan­chotopia at the Witte de With, Rot­ter­dam in Sep­tem­ber of 2011. Mor­ri­son has had recent solo exhi­bi­tions at Art­s­peak, Van­cou­ver (2010); Every Let­ter in the Alpha­bet, Van­cou­ver (2010); CSA Space, Van­cou­ver (2009); Catri­ona Jef­fries, Van­cou­ver (2007) and Büro Friedrich, Berlin (2005). His work was included in the recent Syd­ney Bien­nial (2010); It Is What It Is, National Gallery of Canada, Ottawa (2010); Fol­low­ing a Line, Con­tem­po­rary Art Gallery, Van­cou­ver (2010); Cubes, Blocks and Other Spaces, Musée d’art con­tem­po­rain de Mon­tréal, (2009); Get­ting Even, Kun­stverein Han­nover (2009); eXpo­nen­tial Future, Mor­ris and Helen Belkin Gallery, Van­cou­ver (2008). Stern­berg Press pub­lished a mono­graph on his work in 2005.

For fur­ther infor­ma­tion or press enquires please con­tact Catri­ona Jef­fries or Anne Low at +1 604 736 1554.