I first came across John Morris’s work in the the defunct Woodwork magazine. Terry Martin, wood turner and writer, had put together an article which was published in the Winter 2012-13 edition of The Best of Woodwork. This edition was focused on the Fundamentals of Design – and looked at the work various designers and makers. John Morris’s work was just fascinating!
According to Terry Martin’s article, John is a very private – and painfully shy man. John graduated in Graphic Design from the Queensland College of Art. He became well known in the adverting and design industries, winning several state and national awards for his work. But John’s career lost momentum as computer graphics and computer aided design changed the landscape. John refused to adapt to the new way of working – he preferred to work with a pencil and paper – “My ideas flow better with a pencil and paper.”
The magazine article was peppered with photographs showing the range of Morris’s work – work that is whimsical, intense, erotic, humorous, allegorical, detailed, mysterious and more.
I followed John’s work – when I could find it – until he had a show at the Lethbridge Gallery in Brisbane. At that time, we were living in Brisbane – and so we went to the opening. There was a bunch of new work – new avenues explored, and some further evolution of earlier work.
The thing is that I had only seen photographs of his work. And the photographs give no indication of scale. Most of his pieces were quite small – 300mm or so high. And the detail was intense. But the workmanship is exquisite – made pieces and found (or purchased) objects inserted, fitted or applied with perfection. He embeds personality, character, fluidity of motion, or static tension into his pieces.
A recurring theme in his work is the isolation of man (or woman) in an industrialised world. But his animal and bird pieces are works of joy and animation.
Yes – we bought a piece at the opening. We thought it was the standout piece. And we couldn’t resist.
Lethbridge Gallery has scheduled another exhibition of John Morris’s work – just a couple of weeks – from 26-August to 6-September this year. Enough time to make sure I don’t miss it….
These images are from the Lethbridge Gallery website.