Museum of Contemporary Art, purchased with funds provided by the Coe and Mordant families, 2009
papier mache and ink mounted on wood in perspex case
H 46.3 W 49.9 D 20.5cm
James Morrison spent his childhood in the highlands of Papua New Guinea, and this formative period has been hugely influential in his development as an artist. His subject is nature – an intense, slightly malevolent version that befits the environment of his youth. The stories and myths from his Papua New Guinea experience have shaped his thinking as an artist, in particular in the way he merges the natural world with the imaginary and the mythic.
One aspect of Morrison’s practice involves the creation of small, moulded paper objects. These fragile constructions sit between drawing and sculpture.
“This object was the first sculptural drawing that I did. It started out as a relief and then grew out. Also a few other little papier-mâché works I was making at the time were incorporated into it, hence the difference in papers.
I had been thinking of taking the flat work I had been doing and expanding it, literally outwards, though mainly with my painting. I had such a small studio it seemed easier to play around with the ideas as drawings and small papier-mâché objects (though in time it will filter into my paintings). It came about out of frustration of the flat impenetrable surface. I needed something I could move around in. A more expansive space. The feeling of walking into the bush. I had always liked Claes Oldenburg, his bulging wall pieces, although you can’t really see that in this work.”
James Morrison, July 2011