6 July 2000 - 5 August 2000
Opening Reception 6 July 2000 8pm
The difference between ‘home’ and ‘house’ is rhetorical yet philosophical in nature. Domestic architecture, physical as it may be, is rooted in an ideological abstraction called ‘home’,an agglomeration of support systems and amenities such as the nuclear family, friendly neighbors, backyard cookouts and full-package cable TV. Alex Morrison‘s oeuvre emerges from the forced abandonment of common notions of domestic space- a welcome consequence of his transient history. This pared down existence screens him from faux sensibilities as the overly retentive anti-style of Martha Stewart, yet provides him with an unique, creative, visual language developed upon the provisional savvy of his fleeting lifestyle. Within this, Morrison has built a strong critical foundation, identifying his precarious domestic actuality as a stable thematic disposition.
Impermanence permeates Morrison’s work. Every House I’ve Ever Lived In, drafted directly on the gallery walls, exists in an air of temporary suspension as it awaits its impending demise. The work’s longevity or lack thereof, is only rivaled by the duration of each period of occupancy at the respective sites represented by individual drawings. This work chronicles the overwhelming and consistently growing list of Morrison’s residencies since his birth. Meticulous lines, all of similar weight, resurrect planar elements and details of each house. Echoes of door jams, stair treads and wall studs delineate form, yet collapse at the hint of space within the indiscriminate and overlapping marking of grounds. A metaphor for the memories from which they were drawn, the rendered structures rest in limbo between dilapidated disrepair and potential renovation.
Spatial unrest is prevalent in the performative action documented by a video loop entitled Home Wrecker.This work provides a view into a scantily outfitted, partially abandoned apartment where Morrison assumes the part of a presumably uninvited guestor mischievous house-sitter, perhaps both. As the artist meanders around the room on his skateboard, he comes into contact with anything and everything that nears his all encompassing path, nothing stands in his way. Furniture and architectural features don’t operate in a traditional sense as Morrison devalues and reissues the meaning of each object. The aftermath reveals an altered state of ordered disarray in which the reassignment of function has inevitably occurred. What is deemed an unacceptable act of social transgression is actually a poignantly intuitive inversion of domestic codes and hierarchies. The result is aloud, yet poetic diagram of the artist’s lack of relationship with the contents of this house in particular and with the generic accoutrements attributed to ‘home’ in general.
In Teenage Runaway Campsite,a standard sheet of plywood leans against the gallery wall, thus creating a sheltered space. This work could easily be mistaken for a skateboard ramp, a forgotten leftover from the days of minimalism, or even a heap of curbside trash. Nothing more than the essentials equipe this makeshift habitat, identifying it as the lowest common denominator of ‘house’. Once inside, the viewer is confronted by a facade of ‘identity wallpaper’, as the artist has dubbed it, which offers a glimpse into the personality of its creator/interior decorator. A collage of images from a range of magazines from soft-core pornography to skateboarding riddle the interior, recall bedroom walls of years past- an infinite world of fantasy exists almost unnoticed. Here, within a brief utopian moment silently embedded within the bounds of architecture and on the periphery of domesticity, Morrison’s ideological stronghold stands safely beyond the reaches of outside encroachment and control.
Alex Morrison was born in Redruth, England. Over the years he has attended various art colleges at various times. Recent exhibitions include; From Memory at Platform, London, Serial Killers at Platform, London and Chistopher Cutts, Toronto, Belvedere at the Henry Moore Institute, Leeds, England and Laissez Fair eat Printed Matter, New York City. He currently lives in Halifax.
David Diviney was born in Hershey, Pennsylvania. He received a B.F.Aat Tyler School of Art, Philadelphia and an M.F.A. at Nova Scotia College of Art and Design. He has exhibited throughout the United States and Canada, and in museums and galleries in Germany and Iceland. Currently, he is the director of eyelevel gallery, Halifax, Nova Scotia.