Atrium Gallery, Glasgow School of Art, December 2007 Press Release
The central theme of Sophie Morrish’s work is an exploration of our relationship to nature. Living in the middle of the Loch Lomond and Trossachs National Park in Scotland for the last ten years, her work has evolved from regularly walking and exploring locations where human and animal habitats meet - not true wilderness areas but their borders, where the assertion ‘natural’ is perhaps more difficult to define. Through these customary wanderings the artist has sought to develop intimacy and a level of perception that can reveal singular moments of peculiarity as significant within the regular cycles of destruction and regeneration in nature.
When considering the natural world we are generally attuned to a concept of hierarchies; whilst such systems of classification allow us to order the natural world around us they are not, Morrish would argue, the sole means by which we can meaningfully perceive it.
Acknowledging the essential paradox at the heart of creating representations of nature, Morrish readily subverts hierarchies in order to question accepted anthropocentric perspectives.
Transparent Eye brings together a number of Morrish’s small three-dimensional works, photographs and drawings - the most recent of which, the 2007 series ‘Nature Morte’, originate from small-scale graphite frottage made from the egg galleries and laval mines of Scolytus Multistriatus, the European Dutch Elm Bark Beetle. The intricate calligraphy of these incised patterns belies the destructive impact their ‘authors’ have upon the host trees – estimated to have killed over 80% of U.K. Elms, some 25 million trees between the 1960’s and 1990’s. In these drawings gesture is replaced by an obsessive regard for the naturally occurring ‘script’, they do not however, reflect analytical reality, they are composite fictions. Following the natural development of these phenomena, (laval mines radiating from a central egg gallery), the drawings depart from any approximation of their origins; transcription becomes translation through the various nuances associated with drawing and the creative process.
Morrish’s oeuvre could be described as one of reinterpreting and re-contextualising phenomena. By responding to and bringing attention to bear upon things that are seemingly insignificant or easily overlooked, her work encourages consideration of how we perceive ourselves in relation to nature, both individually and culturally.