Paul Morris: Reconstructions of sand and the city

Posted on January 24, 2016

Paul Morris has been an NYC native ever since graduating from design school here. We recently exhibited his ‘Double Freedom’ series at our NYC gallery in the West Village, where Morris also resides. His approach to photography and collage has evolved significantly over the years and we had a chance to catch up with him to discuss this evolution.

FF

Your style is part photography and part reconstructed collage. How do you decide which elements to combine into a single image?

PM

I look at natural and or man made images and guided by my intuition, these shapes will tell me what can go with what- if there will be a balance in the forms when placed together – if the shapes mimic or reflect each other. My pieces are to harmonize and reconcile natural and or man made items as well as juxtapose these images against natural forms and shapes.

FF

Your work often brings together urban and natural elements. How do you think about the interplay between these 2 different themes? 

PM

My images are to integrate and place natural and or man made items as well as connect these images against natural forms and shapes.

FF

Patterns play an important role in many of your series. Sometimes they have an effect reminiscent of a kaleidoscope. Can you discuss your thought process and approach to creating these patterns?

PM

These patterns represent repetitions and I am drawn to them as they mirror repetition the shapes of interpersonal and inter-relational aspects of life. There is a self-soothing and meditative quality to creating these patterns.

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Sand #3‘ by Paul Moris

FF

Do you have a perfect size in mind to show your work at? Are you in the “bigger is better” camp or do you also see envision your works in smaller formats?

PM

I believe that the images need to be as large as possible. It should be an immersive experience where the viewer is transported into the image and moved by the color.

FF

Your ‘Double Freedom’ series on FotoFoam focused on different landmarks around NYC. How did you decide on these locations – was it mostly an aesthetic choice or did these locations have a deeper significance for you?

PM

It’s both an aesthetic choice as will as having a deeper significance to me. This is the city that I have lived in for all of my adult life, making it a more personal experience.

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Double Freedom‘ series by Paul Morris at FotoFoam in NYC

FF

What is your favorite place in NYC to go for inspiration? Or is your inspiration place somewhere else?

PM

My inspiration comes from traveling and from my personal relationships with family and friends. I find inspiration from within when I become introspective and reflect on past/present /future events. I find inspiration when I am on a long bike ride up the Hudson River or when I’m walking on the beach.

FF

Has photography always been your medium for reconstruction or were there other mediums you’ve used for reconstruction?

PM

I’ve used postcards in the past- but always a photographic image.

FF

We recently exhibited your ‘Double Freedom’ series in our NYC gallery. How do you think about the series from a grouping perspective? Was it designed for all 6 prints to be shown together or are they also meant to be shown in smaller groupings?

PM

The images work together as a grouping because they were taken in and around the NYC. The idea being that they are “postcards” or snapshots from my day. They work together modularly and as individual panels.

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Double Freedom‘ series by Paul Morris at FotoFoam in NYC

FF

The ‘Double Freedom’ series invokes the concept of sound waves. Are these meant to signify the natural flow of NYC or is it an ironic way to show tranquil sound waves in such a bustling place? Of perhaps something else?

PM

To me it represents the energy that flows through the city like a sound wave.

FF

What’s the most interesting and/or unexpected thing anyone has ever said to you about your work?

PM

I’ve had a variety of different response and reactions to my work – I get a lot of “which way up?” questions… that it’s provocative  – and people tend to find what they need within it.

FF

One thing that is distinctly omitted from your work is people. Is this intentional or do you just find that objects make for better patterns?

PM

Yes, this is intentional with regards to what I have done with shapes. As I evolve in my exploration of personal interactions I would like to continue and experiment with using human images.

FF

Many of your photographs were either taken while on the water or include themes of the beach. Is there something that inspires your attachment to water and oceans?

PM

My mother and father met at the beach, so it holds a very special place In my heart and my mind. For me the experience of being at the beach evokes a sense of hope and possibility.

Sand #1‘ by Paul Morris

FF

Is there any life event that has a significant impact on the way you approach your art? If so how did that change your style/thinking?

PM

I experienced a significant life-changing event due to a major loss. What ensued was the creation of what at times feels like a pseudo reality. Much of my life has been spent in reconciling these fractured aspects of my life wherein I can experience myself as a whole integrated person. My art is a reflection of the disparate aspects of my life and my attempt to synthesize them.

FF

Your work is relatively minimal. When working on a piece, how do you determine when that work is complete and ready for exhibition?

PM

The process of creating my art involves putting two complimentary images together that create a sense of balance. The core/middle piece is intended to bind in a vibrant way the two disparate aspects of the piece. Upon establishing both the balance and the cohesiveness of the halves, I am able to establish that I have manipulated the images to my satisfaction. Hence the piece is finished.

FF

What can we expect from Paul Morris in 2016?

PM

I continue to push the limits of my creativity and discover different methods and technologies to achieve new and provocative images.

See more work by Paul Morris in his FotoFoam gallery here.