Sarah Morris : March 15 – June 2, 2013

Sarah Morris, Danuza Leão [Rio], 2014

Since the mid-1990s, Sarah Morris has been making abstract paintings and films to investigate what she describes as “urban, social and bureaucratic typologies”. These works, based on different cities, are derived from close inspection of architectural details combined with a critical sensitivity to the psychology of a city and its key protagonists.

Morris began her career making graphic paintings that adapted the dramatic, emotive language used in newspaper and advertising tag lines. Her city-based paintings are executed in household gloss paint on square canvases, employing rigorous, all-over grids that reference architectural motifs, signs or urban vistas. Their vivid colours derive from each city’s unique vocabulary and palette, but, most importantly, its dynamic. In her film work, Morris both seduces and alienates the viewer, employing different kinds of cinematography, from documentary recording to seemingly set-up narrative scenarios. In her film Los Angeles (2005), for instance, Morris explores an industry fuelled by fantasy and examines the trenchant relationship between studio, producer, director and talent.

Morris most recent series of work about Rio de Janeiro depicts the multifarious and complex layers of this most contradictory of cities, from its highly orchestrated and eroticised surface image, to its vast urban sprawl. In the Rio film, images of Rio’s beaches, fruit stands, hospitals, iconic modernist architecture, football stadiums, factories and favelas are combined with images from the office of Oscar Niemeyer, the Ipanema appartment of Danuza Leão, the mayor of Rio and the parades of the city’s famous Carnival.

Danuza Leão [Rio] is the title of several works from Morris’ Rio series and also a character in Morris’ film, “Rio” which premiered at the Locarno Film festival in 2012. Danuza Leão was a famous fashion model, socialist and Bossa Nova muse in the 1960’s.

Sarah Morris was born in 1967 in the UK and lives and works in New York.