Petals, stems and tendrils of plants feature in each of the ten screenprints of this series by Paul Morrison. 'Calathidium' is a botanical term referring to flowerheads of which several different species are represented here. Whorled heads of chrysanthemums and concentric petals of gerberas and cornflowers are punctuated by thistles, lilies and cowslips in the compositions.
Morrison chooses different viewpoints for each print, creating the impression that we are joining him on a walk through a landscape. His restricted palette of black and white creates a vivid set of contrasts which play with our conceptions of time. Are these scenes at night or in daylight? The glimpse of the moon, coupled with the variety of pictorial viewpoints, add to a sense of ambiguity. By eliminating colour, he invites us to bring our own tonal impressions to each image, or as he describes, the 'colour behind the eye'.
'Calathidium' encapsulates common aspects of Morrison's work. Plant and landscape imagery appear frequently, predominantly in black and white. He characteristically blends stylised outlines with whimsical cartoons and detailed drawings and often distorts our sense of perspective by enlarging elements. His motifs draw upon a multitude of sources including traditional children's literature such as Grimm's Fairy Tales and Walt Disney cartoons; Victorian botanical illustrated books; the wood block prints of Albrecht Dürer (1486-1555) and the modern prints of Roy Lichtenstein and Patrick Caulfield.
Paul Morrison was born in Liverpool in 1966. He studied fine art at Sheffield City Polytechnic (1985-88) and Goldsmiths College, London (1995-98). Exhibitions of his work include shows at the Irish Museum of Modern Art, Dublin (2003), Tate Britain (2004) and a solo exhibition at the Alison Jacques Gallery in London (2008).
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