Still early in her career, Leanne Morrison is continually refining her conceptual and visual language and this new body of work is rigorous and uncompromising. The paintings investigate the ways in which elements of space, form, and colour interact with and adapt to one another and to their environment. Morrison’s practice is rooted in modernist concerns of the medium but she is not bound by prescriptive doctrine.
Morrison’s black works are named after ‘lines’ or body positions in fencing, and this creates elegant conceptual parallels. Fencing is the abstraction of violence: actions in conflict distilled to choreographed suites of movements, more akin to dance than fighting. Septieme, Sixte, Quarte, Octave are the abstraction of painting to its essence: line and space, illusions of presence and absence, the materiality of paint on canvas. Morrison creates movement - and stillness - that is exquisitely controlled and with the distraction of colour interactions removed, her explorations of texture are especially noticeable. Variations in density and surface finish react differently to light conditions, as do the edged ridges that delineate lines and edges. This creates movement that suggests depths of field rather than linear extensions, adding to the balanced tension of the works.
The paintings in Adaptation are composed in the sense that elements are combined in a considered manner, but they also possess a sense of composure. The controlled internal structure of Morrison’s works is self-referential and contained; they are free from extraneous decoration. It becomes clear however, that each painting is greater than the sum of its parts. Seen alongside one another, the paintings’ blocks of colour extend beyond the lines of their picture planes and continues across others: the compositions re-write themselves. Morrison reinforces this external structure further still by wrapping colour around the edges of her works. Each exists simultaneously as a two-dimensional surface and a three-dimensional object and they adapt to the slightest shift in viewing perspective.
Leanne Morrison’s practice reveals a painter greatly engaged in not only how she paints, but why she does so. Her conceptual rigour is matched with the rigour she applies to her work in the studio. The resulting paintings possess a visual language that is deceptive in its simplicity: embedded in each canvas are ideas layered upon one another, adapting to circumstance.