A must-see show from Lynn Morrell

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  • Lynn Morrell - Over the Wall Again

    Lynn Morrell - Over the Wall Again

  • Lynn Morrell - Crop Circles

    Lynn Morrell - Crop Circles

  • Lynn Morrell - Spring Greens, 2010

    Lynn Morrell - Spring Greens, 2010

  • Lynn Morrell - Over the Western Horizon, 2010

    Lynn Morrell - Over the Western Horizon, 2010

The Lynn Morrell Exhibition at Ace Gallery

Lynn Morrell is an artist’s artist. By that I mean, her work has earned the esteem of her peers, as well as that of critics and collectors.

After seeing her current exhibition at the Ace Gallery, I once again understood why this is so, but more about that momentarily.

The exhibition consists of 15 wall hangings, all being fabric-based, ten of which are from the Ace Art Collection.

In general terms, what impresses me about Lynn Morrell’s work, is the way she translates, or if you like, abstracts the fine details in nature to that of fabric.

When confronting one of her wall hangings such as Old Stones, I saw that she converts, for example, the strata seen in the individual stones of an old Bermuda wall into something appropriate for her materials, but at the same time, I, by no means understood all the technical intricacies employed in doing it.

That is part of the magic and mystery of her art.

Above and beyond the technicalities of making her wall hangings, however, there is that more intangible aspect of a work, its expressiveness.

In her case, however, she more often than not, transforms it into visual poetry.

When it comes to colour, pattern and texture; it is more to it than simply going to a fabric shop to find material with suitable qualities, although at times this may be the case, but often she has to fabricate it, by hand-dying and creating the pattern herself.

Her art is one that requires multiple skills and it appears that experimentation is a part of the picture.

My guess is that whenever making a translation from nature, because of the complexity of her source, she has to rethink her methods and reinvent her techniques.

As an example, in Crop Circle, she uses a golden coloured silk, but with her sewing skills, she creates the actual pattern and texture seen in crop circles.

She said that in this instance, the shimmer of the silk appealed to her, as it resembled the way the wind, blowing across wheat, creates waves of diffused light.

In her artist’s statement, Ms. Morrell writes that she shies away from such words as “art” or “craft”.

This I can understand, as those words would bring her into the debate of art versus craft, which would tend to limit or restrict our understanding of that which she has made.

In this debate, craft, as a noun, usually is seen as something of lesser quality than that of art, although that so-called difference is entirely a social construct.

In order to avoid all these unfortunate considerations, Lynn Morrell simply says that she is a maker.

I asked her about her influences, but this she said was difficult say.

Instead, she named a number of artists that she deeply admires, but as to how or if they have influenced her work, is another matter.

She named Mark Rothko and Paul Klee as particular interests. She also mentioned Matisse’s use of pattern as well as Andy Goldsworthy’s intimate connection with nature, as of importance as well.

It is difficult to pick out any one work in this exhibition, as standing out, more than any other, but one that I especially liked is Moonstone.

I wondered how she came up with the title and thought that perhaps there was some connection with a well-known 19th century detective novel by Wilkie Collins of the same title, although if so, I was at a loss to explain it.

Actually the title is derived from her favouring the gemstone, but as she explained, a fresh cut block of Bermuda stone has a glow about it, even in the dark of night, that reminded her of a moonstone.

This black and white work depicts, once again the strata seen in a weathered block of Bermuda stone and again, she had to invent the strata, which in this particular work, she did, by dying or possibly painting the fabric.

There are at least four hangings on the theme of old walls and strata, in this exhibition.

This is a must see show that continues into the New Year, so there is yet, lots of time to see it, but don’t wait, as the Christmas season and an election is upon us and these will eat into our time, more than we may realise.

The Ace Gallery is found in the Ace Building on 17 Woodbourne Avenue, on the ground floor, just to the right of the entrance foyer.

It’s open Tuesdays to Thursdays, 11am to 2pm or by appointment, call 297-5200.

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Published Nov 7, 2012 at 8:00 am (Updated Nov 6, 2012 at 11:28 pm)

A must-see show from Lynn Morrell

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