Sue Morris
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The Ties That Bind: Impressions of an Enclosed Garden

Dr Susanne Colleary, Writer and Academic

Feathers, hair, moss, mud, plastic, scouring pads, seed heads, twigs and wire. These are a few of my throwaway things. Here in Sue Morris’ latest work, Hortus Conclusus the artist makes a play of these lost and found items, winding them into the work of her art along with more conventional media, including, watercolour, papier mache, ink, coloured pencil, plaster, graphite and photography. 

In taking and working with multi media in this way, Morris actively blurs the material of physical, conceptual and artistic boundaries. In this liminal place Morris subverts and inverts notions of hegemonic, gendered, naturalized and internalized spacial landscapes. Impressions of distance and nearness pervade the work, look from afar at that which seems evident, come closer and become drawn into deeper, darker spaces where all is not as it seems.

Bulb ripe and deadly blossom,
Bird prone on a whispering floor,
Black intent drawn on a shift,
Seeing eyes from a distance
Categorize a dispassionate world,
And nothing is left in the empty nest.

Various and varying impressions impart themselves here. The sense of the subtle moves easily, back and forth to feelings of being overwhelmed, succumbing to ideas of desire, of darkness, of escape, of fear, of deadly intent, or  ‘natural law’ and, perhaps most of all, of being assailed by a sense of entrapment  and inevitability.

Sue Morris, at times utilizing a comic absurdist attitude, engages a community of transient spectators, centrally, in an exploration of space. The seemingly pleasurable but distant spaces of the domestic garden are brought up close to ideas of social space, hegemonic space, of gendered space, personal space and of internalized space. It is in these spaces that Morris creates an intimate art and, for this viewer, incisively interrogates the fundamental consequences that occur when these spaces are inhabited, colonized and abandoned, by the social world, by others and finally by the nature of oneself, equally capable of self-nurture and slow sabotage.