22nd August - 2nd October 2014
Sea, Music and Mapping - Themes in the work of Mary Morrison
Mary Morrison grew up in the Western Isles, and was drawn to exploring a sense of space and light which is particular to these islands. Aiming to combine a sense of place in the work with notation – variously suggesting mapping, measuring, music. Grid references, staves and tide tables recur in the work.
Where works have titles referring to specific locations, the intention is to draw on personal connections to these places in order to explore wider themes. Mary’s intention is not to render the topography of a landscape but rather to explore the relationship between the individual and the landscape that has shaped them, something you carry with you – a ‘geography of the mind’.
She is continually inspired by relationships between the written word – poetry in particular – and image, and some paintings have titles which respond to works by Kenneth White, and the Sufi poet, Rumi for example.
Iain Crichton Smith’s poem ‘Lewis’ goes some way to expressing the current preoccupations in the work:
‘It follows me, that black island without ornament,
Which I am always questioning….
Sea, immortal waters, you are the harmony around us forever.
We exist in your music,
In your blizzard of white gulls….
Wherever I am, you are with me,
My music is the music of your stones, …
You are the book which I always study
In sunsets over the Minch,
You are my gaunt theme, my poem which burns in water.
Mary Morrison’s current practice is focussing on the word ‘Fonn’ as a link between the works. Fonn is a gaelic word with several meanings - ‘land, music, tune, state of mind’ - which echoes ongoing preoccupations in the work.