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Heather & Ivan Morison - Untitled (If This Isn’t Nice, What Is?)

Meadow Arts commission 2017 for Synthetic Landscapes. Photo Stefan Handy.

Heather & Ivan Morison - Untitled (If This Isn’t Nice, What Is?)

Meadow Arts commission 2017 for Synthetic Landscapes. Photo Stefan Handy.

Heather & Ivan Morison - Untitled (If This Isn’t Nice, What Is?)

Meadow Arts commission 2017 for Synthetic Landscapes. Photo Stefan Handy.

Untitled (If This Isn’t Nice, What Is?)

Meadow Arts commission, 2017

Sculpture, scagliola

Inspired by the history and aesthetics of Weston Park, Heather and Ivan Morison have created a work that evokes feelings of opulence and excess, beauty and desire, all things that were at the heart of the Georgian aristocracy. Lolling in one of the pavilions of the ruined Pineapple House, the abstract form is traced in flowing pastels, lined with deeper crimsons and turquoises and flecked with patches of umber, zinc and cadmium.

Created using traditional pigments, the work also relates to tectonic forces whereby, deep within our planet, layers of matter collide, melt and mix, forming an unknowable landscape. This complexly patterned surface and the seductively smooth finish of the work is made using the old Italian craft of scagliola, a technique popular with the Georgians to create decorative marbles within their homes

Heather and Ivan Morison work collaboratively, not only as a couple but also with groups of supporters and the wider community; they believe strongly in the transformative power of art and its capacity to move and question all manner of certainties.

Heather & Ivan Morison

Heather and Ivan Morison (born UK, 1973 and Turkey, 1974 respectively) have established an ambitious collaborative practice over the past decade that transcends the divisions between art, architecture and theatre. They are based in Weobley, Herefordshire and Abergwynant, North Wales.

Heather and Ivan Morison make art as an active engagement with materials, histories, sites and processes, producing sculpture, plays, photographs, installations and buildings, and site-specific projects internationally, including the establishment of an arboretum in Wales. More recently they are known for their architectural structures that relate to ideas of escape, play, shelter and refuge, the transformation of the modern city, weight and levity, solidity and transparency; the construction of which are very often part of a broad community effort.

Their central preoccupation has always been how we navigate catastrophe and the essential violence of change. More recent works have moved from a wider social view to how individuals transcend moments of personal calamity.

Their works range across a diverse set of media and approaches which sees their work manifest itself both within the gallery but also within wider physical and social arenas, from a nomadic theatre company to the creation of large-scale public spaces, explicitly engaging in the dialogue around redefining the limitations of where and how it is possible for artists to work.


Heather & Ivan Morison have exhibited widely across UK, Europe, Australasia, Canada and the USA. They are presently working on permanent commissions in Cambridge, Bristol and Newbury, temporary commissions in New York and Seattle, exhibiting at the Royal Academy summer show and are shortlisted for the Birmingham Big Art Project. Key past projects include Shadow Curriculum, South London Gallery, 2015; Misery Farm, Hauser and Wirth, Somerset, 2015; Sleepers Awake, Museum of Contemporary Art, Sydney, 2014; All’s Well That Ends, Schauspielhaus Bochum, Germany 2014; Smile All the While, Whitechapel Art Gallery, London, 2014; Skirt of the Black Mouth, Tate Modern, London, 2012-15; Nuclear Family, National Theatre of Wales, 2013; Black Pleasure, Eastside Projects, Birmingham 2013; Anna, The Hepworth, Wakefield, 2012; Cave, MK Gallery, Milton Keynes, 2012; Black Pig Lodge, Southbank Centre, London, 2011; Mr. Clevver, Contemporary Art Spaces Tasmania, Australia, 2011; Plaza, Vancouver Art Gallery, Canada, 2010; The Black Line Void, Derry, Northern Ireland, 2009; Black Cloud, Situations, Bristol, 2009; Journée des Barricades, One Day Sculpture, Wellington, New Zealand,
 2008; And So it Goes, representing Wales at the 52nd Venice Biennial, 2007.

Their book, Falling into Place, a fictionalized account of their large architectural shelter works, was published by Bookworks in 2009, and was made into an audio book by Palaver Press, New York in 2015. A monograph of their work, edited by Claire Doherty and Gavin Wade will be published in 2017. Heather and Ivan Morison are visiting lecturers in fine art at Goldsmiths, sculpture at Royal College of Art and are represented by Works|Projects, Bristol, UK and Clint Roenisch, Toronto, Canada.


Some Notes on Practice

We think about people and how we can make them see their world afresh, how we can lift them out of the everyday to see the edges of their lives.

We think a lot about the places where people live, about the communities that exist there, and how these can be transformed.

We try to identify the blind spots, unspoken, or ignored in a place.

Sometimes we start with something elemental - some earth, a rock, a tree, a book, some bone, a fire, and think how it can be transformed through processes and tools into something other.

We might take a simple shape - a square, a line, a circle or triangle, and fold it, or cut it, or shrink it and repeat it, or enlarge it and make it monolithic. Sometimes it’s not a shape but an idea that gets folded and cut and repeated and enlarged.

We make the materials into the shapes, we try and do it slowly, carefully. We do it ourselves and try to bring people through the experience with us, imbuing the final forms with honesty and depth.

We are looking for people to be unsettled by what they see, but also find hope through this confrontation.

Sometimes we say we want people to rise up and reorder the world they are living in, to break out of the rigid grid of the modern city and to twist and distort it, to realign it into a more beautiful geometry.

Sometimes people also think this. Sometimes they do it.

We think of our work as a blueprint for happiness.


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