artist / participant

press release

The Contemporary Museum’s artist project series, 02art, continues in 2006 with British artist Paul Morrison.

Morrison often draws on imagery of the natural world from sources in popular culture, fine art, film and science to transform familiar images of nature into something uncanny and altogether unnatural. Hence nearly all aspects of his images – their scale, color, flatness, and fabricated appearances – are at odds with their counterparts in nature.

His evocative wall paintings suggest natural environments and pseudo-scientific investigations, but are more directly engaged in a dialogue with artistic concerns that are formal and thematic. These serve to educe an unanticipated sort of deep or subconscious emotional response to public architectural space, which is otherwise transitional and often goes by unnoticed. At The Contemporary Museum, Morrison’s outdoor wall painting alongside the museum’s Barbara Twigg-Smith Honl Terrace and Reflecting Pool refers to the scientific term “gamodeme.” Derived from the Greek deme - a unit of subdivision in ancient Attica – gamodeme refers to an isolated community of intrabreeding organisms (or deem) of the same kind or species.

Jutting from TCM’s façade, the monumentally-scaled wall interrupts the architectural footprint of the museum while the stark black and white painting forces engagement with the museum’s floricultural setting. The painting features stylized flower forms through which is glimpsed the image of a two-story half-timbered house or fachwerkhaus referring to Albrecht Dürer’s c. 1498 engraving Madonna, Christ Child, and Monkey. Happening upon the curiously out-of-place image of the medieval house, museum visitors may call into question their relationship to the natural environment around them. By introducing a dissonant chord within the overwhelming beauty of the site, Morrison underscores TCM‘s beautiful but unnatural (man-made) garden setting. This jarring adjacency interrupts the garden’s quietude and forces an experience that is empirical, internalized and romantic. Morrison’s painting underscores the garden‘s artifice while revealing it to be a monumental work of ar t in and of itself.

About the Artist Paul Morrison was born in Liverpool, England in 1966 and studied at Goldsmiths College, London. He has exhibited widely in US museums including The Museum of Modern Art, New York, NY; Aspen Art Museum, Aspen, CO; UCLA Hammer Museum, Los Angeles, CA; The Fogg Museum, Harvard University, Cambridge, MA; and The Drawing Center, New York, NY. Recent museum exhibitions include the Tate Britain, London; the Irish Museum of Modern Art, Dublin; the Galleria d'Arte Moderna e Contemporanea, Bergamo; Magasin, Grenoble; Southampton City Art Gallery; and Kunsthalle Nürnberg. A portfolio of 12 screen prints by Morrison titled Black Dahlias was published in 2004 by Paragon Press.

O2art 3: Paul Morrison, gamodeme has been organized by Michael Rooks, Curator, The Contemporary Museum and is generously sponsored by Schaefer Design Hawaii with additional in-kind services provided by ResortQuest Hawaii, formerly Aston Hotels and Resorts.


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O2art 3:
Paul Morrison
Kurator: Michael Rooks