The contextual framework of the project, within which this exhibition is set, is stone sculpture. Gail Morris, is inside the stone, inside the material which she found on the Istrian soil, and achieved her credo. She took hold of and became part of the traditional artistic activity in that istrian region.
In other words, Gail Morris is a sculptress whose personal works have a deep connection with the environment where her art is produced. “Identity transcription” is indicative to the fact that the British artist chose Istria as her permanent home.
The particular dialogue with the material is of her making. The development of the form is a personal determination that reflects the thinking process of a rational-emotional flow, which postulates a harmony within the current artistic work. Traditional classicism is the way the artist approaches her mission but is still open to the contemporary. Consciously her work is not burdened with compliance to certain conceptual criteria.
In general contemporary “classical” sculpting, the one that didn’t transform in conceptual “virtuality, subsides the basic principal of the autonomous work of art. It means that it is orbiting through lenient premises of modern form stylization, the shaping of space with her personal orientation still fits in a kind of figurative illusion-ism , pop art, some times minimalism and so on..
We could say that in the act of creation, Gail Morris isn’t on the path of radicalism, nor romanticism, but tough creation. It’s not a “new” or “classic” sculpturing but has a broad perspective to infinite structure, objectivity, open to individual imagination based on the material work of art. So her work is not so much an intervention on space, but a direct effect through the object on the environment.
The shape of the fundamental idea of the artistic mediation is an anthropomorphous object, which is predominant in her “Istrian” period. Surely the motive of that “object” left a trail, the heritage of which is visible even in her later works. The distant product of the motive hardly reflects, because of the lost spontaneity, but when we address to the detail, the under skin, the genetic space of every artifact, culminates with its actual prestige. The wide meaning, the “anthropobeing” that spread it’s content over the field of human relation, on the other hand profiles itself in a state of its own being, her existential awareness and auto-analysis, the idea is shown “metastaticlly” in her battle with the stone.
At that point we have the reflection of a mental space, which is filled with individuality and sometimes with a network. Generally the sculpturing of Gail Morris is a process, the development of form, which in the domain of the chosen material (originally and widely stone) gives an optical expression and a rich suggestibility. On a parallel the work represents an “anthological” content of her self-experience and the responding environment, statements of cultural adaptation, history, inner self, emotionality, nature and spirituality.
We could certainly guess that the trail we are discovering on the timeline of the creative path slowly leads from figurative to abstract. On the previous cycle which the artist named “A passage through”, her sculpturing was aimed towards some form of fluidity, “crossing” through the media to the other side. Clay, stone and metal, are given shape within her hands. Gail Morris always respected the material which animated her with its existential roughness: metal and stone. Her metallic sculptures, created during her early study faze, were assembled in rather sharp structures, which captured a narrative confession in a theatrical game of translating reality. From here her works, like mentioned before were connected by the characteristics of interpersonal, men – woman relationships, that were explained through objects crafted in stony plasticity with rounded forms prevailing.
The figurative reflection was explicitly decided. The turning point in her work is visible in the production of the massive sculpture “Looking for a light”(1991) where the widening of the content of the “antropobeing” embraces the ideas of a future with the introduction of light.
The sculptress’ characteristic connection with nature is always present in the ideal and deeper sense. She clearly knows how to imitate shape and interaction of materials, this knowledge of materials being the preliminary component of the artistic work. The influence of this territory developed in the majority of the sculptress’s manner. In the sequence of development the idea of fluidity is probably heritage of the subtle relationship to the material, which inspired her initiative and desire. The visual purpose opened through her supports the experience of the artifact and it’s characteristic background where the problematic of sociology and existentialism are laid out.
The Sculptures, exposed in the present exhibition are part of the continuous art process. The unstoppable grasping for the “ light happening” is particularly sharpened in a deductive eclectic manner.
The principals of the artists working method relies on planning, but allows steps in spontaneous “direct carving” as the material dictates itself and influences the form. The oscillating relationship sculptress-sculpture is clearly “modus operandi”. The exhibited works manifest as objects, testimony of clever sculpting and arrangement of the materials, as the metallic forging complement the stone. Gail Morris tries to enrich the stone with metallic, copper and iron elements, which in their own “hard” characteristics are similar to stone. In the artist’s personal experience “credo”, the implementation represents a defined position.
The incontestable expressionism in it’s meaning, opposed to the surface. Morphologically growing from the roundness as the intention of the artistic activism is outlined in the field. It uncovers the creative approach where the tension in the visual expression stands as a challenge of mixing structures. As the tendencies of transparency and liquidity of the stone used to be a distinctive negation of nature, today are a complex derivation of tranquility and reflection. The decentralization of the rays (micelles), the headless, makes a postmodern disappearing figure, a“flowing” being which is dismissing in shape until fulfilled, as an upgraded idea.
The archetype of Medusa is the carrier of the antropozoophic** associative effect, which reflects the inside and outside world phenomenon. In the unavoidable relation with nature as everything exists only in the “inescapable” natural cycle, it’s about the thoughts and objects in motion. Objectively as we add the exciting relation between light and the hard material, the ambivalent experience where the “mood” of the material expresses the complexity of the suggestibility range of the sculptures. The stony objects that release metallic branches look outstanding. The “head” with the serpentine hair is the scary Gorgon, Medusa, the mythological character placed nude to emphasize physicality, which invokes the complexity of the object “in sito”. When watching the general frame we can see a visual lead, an abstract image of a light effect. Everything filled with rays, spontaneous and chaotic reflections that travel from the material like a thought, streaming swords in the swelling skin of the pulsating stone forced over the edge. Hard, rough, and heavy, but on the same time easy, light and fluid, like if it’s not stone, like if it’s not metal, like if it’s not an object. The inside out, microscopically macro fulfilling is interfering with the substance, which eliminates the distance between the subject and the object reality. The unstable structural interference between the branches and the roots is like a vascular system, with internal plasma or masked undressing outside. Almost always it’s physicality that is personal, experienced, implanted, internally unaware and spread. The transition between visible an invisible but mainly from rational to emotional is altogether introversion which doesn’t have any beginning nor end. Only knowledge.
What about the “story of the stone”? Stone is the irreplaceable expressive material for Gail Morris. The format, shape, “skin”, surface and the implementation of space and environment are completely harmonically fulfilled. The sketch, expressed in the expressible, limits the complexity. Gail Morris experienced a personal confrontation with the stone, decades ago, when she realized it would be a turning point her career. She felt the possibility to express herself. She felt the possibilities which where originating from “its inside”, from the “stone being”, as from the forms she crafted. Her will was crushing and shaping the stone for decades. She left it in large anthropomorphous pieces that today beautify different landscapes (Forma Viva) or she shaped it in smaller sculptures that appear in different formal points of interest. Altogether in her general ideals, her works are an endless road of discovering of self, others, and the environment. While working she became attached to the territory and with her life here. And once again the Istrian region showed itself as a relevant suggestive reality.
Dejan Mehmedovic ( translation by David Isakovski )