Alex Morrison
February 3–March 12, 2011

Catriona Jeffries 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 (2010–2011), captures the historical Victoria neighbourhood 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.

Documentation by SITE Photography.