Trish Morrissey

Trish Morrissey

Trish Morrissey’s photographs become an instrument to criticize and question family unity and its quintessential manifesto, the family portrait that displays similarities, proximities, hierarchies, and inner orders.


TRISH MORRISSEY

Deborah Bastwick, August 14th (detail), 2005
Series “Front”
C-Print
101,6 x 80 cm
© Trish Morrissey with thanks to Impressions Gallery, Bradford UK

With the series Front, Trish Morrissey creates a series of photographic portraits that could be defined as performance pieces. Moving between British and Australian beaches, the artist meets groups of people by chance, sometimes families, sometimes friends. The artist asks to join their group and to temporarily take over the position of the feminine figure present in the group, usually the mother, imitating the woman’s posture and wearing her clothes, sometimes even her wedding ring. The removed female figure takes the place of the artist and takes the photograph with the camera already set up by Morrissey. Each photograph is named after the replaced woman who, in her presence-absence, becomes the fulcrum of the image and its material author.

As first sight, everything appears extremely ordinary and spontaneous but, at the same time, each image is staged and thoroughly constructed. Despite her camouflage, the intrusive presence of the artist is almost always noticeable, leading the family members to look slightly ill at ease.

The artist creates a parody of the image of family. Her photographs become a means to call into question the natural unity of the family, using an image with strong middle-class and normalizing connotations: the family portrait in a moment of daily life, as in a day at the beach.

A photograph never has only one author. Even if it has a principal author, the photographer, it still remains the product of the interaction between different people, and always populated by intrusions. When leafing through any family photo album, we experience a journey marked by chance elements and presences. The surreal family album by Morrissey reflects on these two parallel relationships: the inevitable and natural bonds of family, but also those accidental meetings that affect each of our respective lives.

Trish Morrissey (born 1967, Ireland; lives and works in London) graduated in photography at the University of the Arts in London in 2001. Her work mainly relies on photography; however, she also works in video and film. As the author, as well as the interpreter and director of her work, she creates photographs that, by simulating a specific constructed reality, play on the binary pair: truth/ representation. Among her most recent solo exhibitions are: in 2004 New Works, at the Impressions Gallery, York, at The Pump House, London, and at the Gallery of Photography, Dublin; in 2005, Seven Years, Yossi Milo Gallery, New York; in 2007, Trish Morrissey Front (Part 1), Elaine Levy Project, Brussels; in 2009, Front, Impressions Gallery, Bradford; in 2010, Trish Morrissey, Centre for Contemporary Photography, Melbourne. Among her most recent joint exhibitions are: in 2005, ev+a, Limerick City Gallery of Art, Limerick; in 2006, Alone Together, Galerie Nouvelles Images, The Hague – EuropART, Contemporary art from Europe, Billboard project, Vienna and Salzburg; in 2009, Gimme More, Elaine Levy Project, Brussels; in 2010, IDENTITÄT, Fotogalerie Wein, Vienna – Update UK: Photography in Britain since 2000, Photomonth, Cracow; in 2011, Alice in Wonderland, LOGOMO, Turku; in 2012, The World in London, Photographers’ Gallery off-site project, Oxford Street and Victoria Park, London – Nuit Des Images, Musée de l’Elysée, Lausanne – From Here to There: Subject Stagings Between Reality and Fiction, Austrian Cultural Forum, London; in 2013, Making it up: Photographic Fictions, Victoria and Albert Museum, London – Modern Families: Relatives and Relationships in Art, Lewis Glucksman Gallery, University College, Cork. Her artworks are part of the collections in the Museum of Fine Art in Houston, the Victoria and Albert Museum in London, and the Museum für angewandte Kunst in Vienna

 




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