Ones to Watch: Interview with Catherine Morgan

Find out about Catherine Morgan's work in our artist interview!

May 23rd, 2020

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YOUR FULL NAME, AND UNIVERSITY COURSE/YEAR.

Hello! My name is Catherine Morgan. I am a final year BA Fine Art student at the University of Leeds

CAN YOU DESCRIBE YOUR WORK TO USING 3 WORDS?

Playing. With. Reading.

WHAT MEDIUM DO YOU PREFER TO USE?

Well I have been a painter for many years, and have dabbled in different printing processes like etching and photographic darkroom printing during my time at university. Right now, I would say my preferred medium is screen printing because I’m having a lot of fun at the minute experimenting with it.

WHAT IS THE INSPIRATION BEHIND YOUR WORK?

This area of practice originated during my study abroad year in Brisbane Australia. I had the opportunity to step away from my usual practice, (which had previously been portrait painting) and allowed myself the freedom to try new styles and focuses. I became really interested in form. This developed into looking at the form of text and how this could be manipulated and undermined. As I researched further when I returned to England, concrete poetry and visual poetry became vital inspirations behind my practice.

WHAT IS YOUR MOST IMPORTANT ARTIST TOOL? IS THERE SOMETHING YOU CAN’T LIVE WITHOUT IN YOUR STUDIO?

Currently, my most important artist tool is actually a screen printing press. So, whilst the facilities at my university have been shut including the workshops and studios, I have made my own screen printing press in my back garden!

DURING THIS UNCERTAIN TIME WHAT WILL YOU DO TO OCCUPY YOURSELF?

During this time of quarantine, I will continue to work towards a final artistic outcome for my degree, having to adapt to the new challenges of not having a studio space and somewhat limited resources. We are living in challenging, unprecedented times and I think through my practice I can maintain a sense of normality for myself, whilst staying safe. I am also lucky to be isolating with my 5 flatmates so I’m not bored at home!

WHICH ARTISTS ARE YOU MOST INFLUENCED BY?

Currently, the Canadian poet Derek Beaulieu and the German poet, typographer and painter Hansjörg Mayer are of great influence to me and my work. Both focus on the forms of letters and how they are visual symbols with inherent meaning.

Tell us about an exhibition that has stayed with you

Although not related to my current practice, the exhibition that I has stayed with me the most was Aftermath: Art in the Wake of World War One at Tate Britain, back in 2018. It looked at the different artistic approaches to the massive, world changing conflict, from Dada to ‘the Return to Order’. It was the base from which I wrote my final year dissertation. I was really struck by the work I saw there and wrote my dissertation piece comparing the art of the German artist Otto Dix and the English artist Stanley Spencer during the inter-war years.

WHAT ARE YOUR FAVOURITE INSTAGRAM ACCOUNTS?

My favourite Instagram accounts are artists such as @miles_tewson @jennyholzerstudio and @ryanputman. Also the Instagram accounts that have been set up recently to celebrate and display the work of final year art students across the country, whose degree shows have been affected by the COVID crisis, namely @thesocialdistanceartproject and @lighthouse.collab

WHAT IS YOUR DREAM PROJECT?

In a healthy, non-pandemic world my dream project right now would be to cover an entire room, ceilings and floor included, with a wallpaper printed with designs similar to the A.A Series pieces I have on display in Ones To Watch 2020 (alongside my larger paintings). I would want to create an immersive space where language surrounds the viewer, but without the pressure to have to read anything. The immersion would be in a surreal space focusing on shape, form and the architectural nature of written language. This dream project is very localised to my practice but right now an empty, large space I have free range over would be the dream!

I would like to say a massive thank you to Sunny Bank Mills for putting on this exhibition and if you want to see more of my work check out my Instagram @cathmorganart !

Find out more about the Ones to Watch exhibition here.

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