Since the mid-1990s, Sarah Morris has been making complex abstract paintings and films. These works, based on different cities, are derived from close inspection of architectural details combined with a critical sensitivity to the psychology of a city and its key protagonists.
Morris began her career making graphic paintings that adapted the dramatic, emotive language used in newspaper and advertising tag lines. Morris executes her city-based paintings in household gloss on square canvases, employing rigorous, all-over grids in vivid colours that reference architectural motifs, signs or urban vistas. Morris associates these colours and geometries with a city’s unique vocabulary and palette, and, most importantly, its dynamic. The grids have become increasingly disorientating, with layered internal space and vortex-like structures shifting the picture beyond the reality of the canvas as a two-dimensional object. In her film work, Morris both seduces and alienates the viewer, employing different kinds of cinematography, from documentary recording to seemingly set-up narrative scenarios. In her film Los Angeles (2005), for instance, Morris explores an industry fuelled by fantasy and examines the trenchant relationship between studio, producer, director and talent.
Following Los Angeles, Morris embarked on more intimate films, such as Robert Towne (2005) and 1972 (2008), where the focus shifts from the wide panoramic view to that of an intimate portrait of an individual citizen within that city; as if the films are a portrait of the city from the inside out.
Sarah Morris was born in 1967 in the UK and lives and works in New York and London. She has participated in many important exhibitions including 4th Site Santa Fe Biennial (2001), 25th São Paolo Biennial (2002) and ‘Days Like These’, Tate Triennial (2003). Solo exhibitions include Nationalgalerie im Hamburger Bahnhof, Berlin (2001), Kunstforeningen, Copenhagen (2004), Moderna Museet, Stockholm (2005), Palais de Tokyo, Paris (2005), Kestner Gesellschaft, Hannover (2005) and Museum Boijmans van Beuningen, Rotterdam (2006), Fondation Beyeler (2008), Lenbachaus, Munich (2008), MAMbo, Bologna (2009), and MMK, Frankfurt (2009).