Simon Morris

Black Watercolour, 2010

5 December 2010 - 17 April 2011

One hundred lines two thousand millimetres high by two hundred millimetres wide, fan out across the big wall creating a twenty metre expanse.  This seemingly simple proposition of Black Watercolourby New Zealand painter Simon Morris, continues the artist’s exploration of ideas associated with the articulation of geometric abstraction in real spaces, where the resulting image encounters and responds to site. 

Painted in a single take that unfurls sequentially across the space, the materiality of the ink is integral to the final resolution of this painting. Each stroke needs to occur at regular time intervals, so that the bands of ink are linked by fluidity and a continuous passage of time.  The ink’s watery character also becomes a defining element of Black Watercolour; as it reveals both the artist’s ability to apply and control the medium in response to a range mutable elements; gravity to water, smooth brush to textured surface, tone to brush pressure and speed.

The concept of presenting one hundred strokes of diminishing or increasing tonality, depending on how you read this monotone spectrum, invites the viewer to look at and think about, how abstract painting connects emotionally and conceptually when it is shifted from the canvas to a non specific painting space. The marks made by the artist as he has applied the overlapping bands of ink, and the wavering top edge in Black Watercolour, reveal the underlying human quality of this work.  This is accentuated further by the proportions of the painting, which is configured within the measure of the artist’s physical reach and in alignment with the scale of the public who encounter it. 

Black Watercolouris not a grandiose wall drawing that has been scaled up to accommodate the overwhelming size of this site.  Rather, Morris has rethought this space, so that it becomes a contemplative arena in which the graduated delineation of the painting, captures and reflects the shifting natural light levels which illuminates the foyer.  Black Watercolouris a carefully articulated painting exercise by hand, where the nuances of scale, light and surface are to the fore, rewarding the viewer who takes the time to experience and take pleasure from these subtle elements, which have been painted in measured stages, across the space.

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