Aspex Gallery, The Vulcan, PO1 3BF
Monday 01 October 2018 – Thursday 31 October 2019
Image: Trish Morrissey, Still from 'Six Scenes', HD video.
Our Artist of the Month feature aims to promote artists' work and raise issues in a quick, informal way. January's Artist of the Month is Trish Morrissey.
Hello, what do you do?
Hi, I am a photographer primarily, but beginning to work with moving image.
Where are you based and how long have you been there?
I am based in Somerset, not far from Bristol.
Where do you work?
I have a studio in the Granny flat that came with the house. It is a brilliant set up: two rooms with a toilet and kitchenette, completely self-contained. I had planned to use the back room for storage and the front room for working in. But six years later, the props, costumes and finished works are spilling over into the work space, so I usually end up working on the kitchen table.
What’s the best thing about the area you live/work in?
At the moment, I have another studio at Hestercombe House where I am artist in residence, which is a complete joy. There is no wifi or even phone reception and as it is not near my domestic space, there are absolutely no distractions. It is just fantastic having that space. Sadly, the residency is coming to an end in a few weeks. I will be very sad to leave it, not to mention the mountains of extra props and costumes that now have to find a home! Having my main studio beside the house means that I can nip out and do things when I have a short bit of time, without having to factor in travel time.
What does 'success' mean to you?
That is always a thorny question! I think making work that is meaningful and is critically valued is more important to me than making a lot of money from it, though obviously that is important.
Do you earn a living from making art?
Yes, with a bit of teaching and commissioned work here and there, but I live extremely frugally, so live well on little!
What makes a good artwork?
Funnily enough, I am having this conversation at the moment with my 11 year old daughter. She is in middle school and being taught art by a teacher who thinks a good artist is someone able to draw or paint well. My daughter feels that her drawing is terrible and therefore she is a terrible artist. She says she hates art. I am telling her that though being good at drawing is a good starting point, it is far from the whole story. A recent visit to Tate Modern blew her mind. When we walked in to the Turbine Hall, she made a beeline for the installation by the Danish art collective Superflex titled One Two Three Swing! As we swung high on a swing for three people, she was laughing with pleasure. She was looking up, following the orange pipes that weave through the installation and spill out into other parts of the gallery when I asked her, ‘what do you think this is?’ She said, ‘I don’t know, a playground?’ I said, yes, it is, but it is also art.
For me, good art is work that evokes a direct human emotional response, rather than being about how well it is crafted.
What have you been up to recently?
I have been artist in residence at Hestercombe this past year and the show of the work I made during that time is on at the gallery from 18 November 18th until February. I also just finished a project with my daughter doing the make-up, which was published in issue no.7 of PYLOT magazine. We made the front cover which is always a thrill. Earlier in the year I had a show with Bettina Von Zwehl at Bohuslans Museum in Sweden where we showed our work from the residency we had there in 2016.
What have you got coming up?
I’ll be promoting the Hestercombe work. It is the largest project by far that I have ever undertaken and comprises 16 photographs and 2 films. We are planning to tour the show; dates and venues to be confirmed. I have several other projects in progress, so watch this space.
Trish Morrissey is an Irish artist, currently living in the UK. Most recent solo and two person shows were at Bohuslans Museum, Sweden (2016); Centre for Contemporary Photography, Melbourne (2010); and Impressions Gallery Bradford, UK (2009). Some recent group shows were Turner Contemporary, Margate, UK (2015); Palazzo Strozzi, Florence, Italy (2014); Glucksman Gallery, Cork, Ireland (2013); and the Perth Institute for Contemporary Arts, Australia (2012).
Her work is in the permanent collection of The Gosta Serlachius Fine Art Foundation, Finland, The Museum of Fine Art, Houston, Victoria and Albert Museum, London, The National Media Museum, Bradford and the Wilson Centre for Photography, London. Her work is included in several survey publications, most notably, 'The Photograph as Contemporary Art' by Charlotte Cotton, (Thames and Hudson, 2005) 'Vitamin Ph, Survey of International Contemporary Photography,' (Phaidon, 2006), 'Auto Focus: The Self-Portrait in Contemporary Photography', by Susan Bright (Thames and Hudson, 2010), and Photography and Ireland by Justin Carville (Exposures, 2012).
On 31 January, Plymouth University hosts a half-day multi-disciplinary symposium exploring themes in Trish Morrissey’s work. Speakers include Trish Morrissey, Professor David Chandler, Hestercombe writer in residence Phil Owen and artist Sophy Rickett: www.vasw.org.uk/events/trish-morrissey-photography-performance-and-historical-imagination.php
Working towards a South West where talented artists thrive, and a resilient and connected visual arts ecology that inspires more engaged and diverse audiences to value and advocate for its work.
Part of the Contemporary Visual Arts Network