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Paul Morrison at the Irish Museum of Modern Art

The first solo exhibition in Ireland of the work of the widely-praised British artist Paul Morrison opens to the public at the Irish Museum of Modern Art on Wednesday 6 August. haematoxlyon, takes its title from the botanical term for a type of tree known for its blood-red wood. The title illustrates Morrison’s practice of drawing on both botanical imagery from popular and classical sources and quasi-scientific references for his breathtaking, highly-stylised compositions.

The exhibition comprises some 14 works including site-specific wall installations, paintings and a new video piece. All are produced by eliminating colour leaving the viewer to project their own vision onto the canvas utilizing “colour from behind the eye”. The video work introduces an additional focus on light and shadow using heavily modified footage from a variety of different sources. The scenes presented in all three media appear clearly recognisable, yet Morrison’s treatment of them somehow renders them unfamiliar, stark and unsettling. Our primordial relationship with the landscape is here manipulated and disturbed by it being drained of colour, one of its most defining characteristics, and sometimes vastly increased in size

Morrison’s landscapes are also devoid of any human presence, remaining dark and unknowable. In ‘protoplasm’, 1999, we are invited, at first glance, into an open countryside. However, certainty gives way to uncertainty as a fence blocks our path, through which a solitary tree can be seen silhouetted in white against a black sky. ‘Set’, 2001, all but overwhelms us with its distorted perspectives of a giant cartoon-like flower and tightly-spun spider’s web, while ‘feld’, 1998, draws us unconsciously into his depicted reality. Morrison’s works are concerned with the issues of growth, life and death. Not only do his extraordinarily beautiful paintings examine the heart of nature’s darkest mysteries, but also, the phenomena of life itself.

Born in Liverpool in 1966, Paul Morrison now lives and works in London. He holds a BA Fine Art from Sheffield City Polytechnic and an MA Fine Art from Goldsmiths College of Art, London. Since his first exhibition in 1996 he has shown widely throughout Europe and also in the United States, Japan, Mexico and New Zealand.

Jörg Heiser, Berlin-based Associate Editor of frieze magazine, London, will present a lecture based on landscape and abstraction in Paul Morrison’s work at 6.00pm, before the preview, on Tuesday 5 August in the Lecture Room, IMMA.

Rachael Thomas, Curator: Exhibitions at IMMA, will present a guided tour of the exhibition on Sunday 10 August at 3.00pm.

Simon Wallis, Head of Exhibitions, ICA, London, will present a lecture on the work of Paul Morrison on a later date. The talks are free, but booking is essential.

haematoxlyon continues until 5 October 2003.

Admission is free.

A publication, with essays by Jörg Heiser, Editor of frieze magazine, Berlin, and Rachael Thomas, Curator: Exhibitions at IMMA, accompanies the exhibition (price €20.00).

Opening hours: Tue – Sat 10.00am – 5.30pm
Sun, Bank Holidays 12 noon – 5.30pm
Mondays Closed

For further information and colour and black and white images please contact Monica Cullinane at Tel : +353 1 612 9900, Fax : +353 1 612 9999, Email : [email protected]

24 July 2003

Important Notice


We would like to advise our visitors that our Main Reception area is closed for renovation from 22 April until mid-June.  A temporary reception is open on the ground floor next to the original main entrance. While we prepare to open our next exhibition Hilary Heron: A Retrospective on 24 May, there are two exhibitions to see Derry Film & Video Workshop and Self: Determination: Artists Commissions. IMMA’s gardens and café are open to the public.