Joe Morris is a North Cornwall-based artist, working with Tadelakt to create compelling art which draws inspiration from nature, geometry and prehistory. One to watch: Joe's work is available directly from the studio and to commission, via Art Eye
JOE MORRIS's fascination with the medium of Tadelakt – a centuries-old form of lime plaster – began when he moved to North Cornwall. Tadelakt originates from Morocco and is traditionally used as a beautiful wall covering, which is transformed by hand from a powder, to a fluid, to a stone-like surface. Having always experimented with different forms of artistic practice and, finding the time and opportunity to work with Tadelakt; Joe had discovered the perfect material with which to develop his art.
The essential and simple compositions which Morris achieves within the medium of Tadelakt have an enigmatic, ‘timeless’ quality, which is both contemporary and ancient. The process of mark-making is honest and spare; cutting, carving and colouring simple lines or geometric shapes, to form what he describes as 'glimpses of a transformative landscape’. The act of burnishing the plaster by hand with a polishing stone, using thousands of circular motions, gives a sense of something that is gradually being 'revealed'. Wax is applied when the image-making is finished, and the surface is finely polished once again, to achieve a lustrous final sheen. As Joe explains:
I find the process magical and alchemic, you start with a white powder and turn it into a beautiful, solid, colourful, shining object. The tiny fissures and cracks which occur only add to the appeal of the material.
There is something appealingly visceral about Morris’s art, which also draws upon a fascination with the elemental Cornish landscape and it's prehistoric sites. Some of his favourite references include the many ancient megalithic monuments and earthworks around Cornwall – for example, the pure geometry of stone circles such as The Merry Maidens and Boscawen Un, in West Penwith. The megalithic sites at Orkney and Avebury also hold great resonance.
But Joe finds inspiration in unexpected places too; modern-day interventions like pylons and telegraph cables, which become clean, seductive slices through the Tadelakt ‘canvas’. He also acknowledges the important influence of rhythms, philosophy, quantum physics and natural patterns.
Time and time again, Joe Morris revisits all these references in subtly different ways; a clever technique which makes the viewer look more closely. The deliberate minimalism in his approach seems to be about finding space for contemplation and reconnection. It's also about something much bigger than us. As he explains;
Many of these works are an attempt to capture the essential elements of nature… The aim is to make quiet, contemplative art which will connect with people at a deep, universal level
Joe Morris, Artist
Joe began working with Art Eye in 2015, and we look forward to many more projects together. His art features in the St Aubyn Estate collection, curated by Art Eye, commissioned as part of the Godolphin Arms Hotel & Sail Loft Restaurant art schemes (see our portfolio for further details).
Joe’s works are available to commission, via our Collector’s Club and for sale directly from the studio, only via Art Eye.