Annie Morris strikes a fine balance between sculpture, tapestry and drawing

Annie Morris strikes a fine balance between sculpture, tapestry and drawing

The interdisciplinary exhibition in New York is her first with Timothy Taylor, who recently began to represent the artist

You might feel trepidation at first, stepping into British artist Annie Morris’ current exhibition at Timothy Taylor’s Chelsea gallery. Colourful spheres balance improbably on top of one another in teetering totems. It’s a dystychiphobiac’s worst nightmare.

Morris – who shares a studio in London with her husband, the artist Idris Khan – began her Stack sculptures as a way to deal with her pain after she had a stillbirth. Morris has said that while mourning the loss of their baby, she became obsessed with the ball shape in her drawings, connecting it to her pregnancies (the couple have two children). 

Sculpted in plaster and sand, the precarious boulders are painted with vibrant hand-sourced pigments, a palette that includes dazzling ultramarine, viridian and earthy ochre. They stand on concrete and steel bases, Morris sees their precariousness as also defiant – they stand tall, despite the all the odds. They recall Ugo Rondinone’s rainbow-coloured stone towers, but with entirely different references and resonances.

Making your way between the maze of sculptures that fills the floor and takes you out to the courtyard where there is a further Stack work, there are also new tapestry works by Morris, climbing up to three metres up the walls. Here, Morris gets deeper into art history, exploring the formal concerns of composition and translating them into a series of structural, abstract grids, collaged together and stitched with a machine, a lexicon that is distinct, more rigid stable than the sculptures – the opposite of what you’d expect from textile works.

Nature, form and spirit are in symbiosis in Morris’ modest, intimate and painterly exhibition, eschewing the usual dichotomy between abstraction and representation, two dimensions and three. Morris has said that she sees all of her works as interconnected, and at her New York exhibition there’s a feeling that all these parts belong to a wonky, wonderful whole – perfectly imbalanced. §

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