Originally fom Toronto and based in Montréal, Eva Morrison is a young artist who likes to paint lansdcapes we run into during our everyday life, but to which we don’t always pay attention anymore. A certain feeling of melancholy and serenity emane from her paintings. I love the tones she uses and I think she is an artist who is worth getting discovered. See more of her through the link to her portfolio at the end of this article!
Q: What element introduced you to painting?
A: I started painting when I was pretty young, and it's been important to me since then.
Q: How would you describe yourself as an artist?
Q: What is your process regarding your art?
A: I mainly paint landscapes, but not realistically. So I reference photos I've taken and then re-imagine the space to exaggerate or synthesize elements. I usually start from a place that I've physically experienced, then paint it incorporating my emotions and intuition. Recently, I've been thinking a lot about what it does to a landscape to be painted and memorialized in that sense. I've been focusing on "temporary" landscapes like construction sites, commuter spaces, other "non-destinations". In my process, I'm trying to change or play with the meaning we denote to these sites. These in-between places are tied to capitalist cycles of metro-boulot-dodo, a life centered on work, but they can also produce emotional responses which elude commodification or codification. By engaging with these sites through traditions of landscape painting and outside of their cultural context of time, function, and human interaction, I'm trying to subvert their familiarity and reconsider perceived space. When a pile of dirty snow is rendered in paint it's both elevated and reduced to forms and colors, and there's beauty in the decrepit subject.
Q: What type of aesthetics attracts you the most?
A: I've been looking at a lot of early work by Anselm Kiefer and Adrian Ghenie. Their grey tones are incredible. And I love a good heavy abstracted Eastern-European nightmare.
Q: How do you connect with your art and with your audience?
A: I think painting can be pretty accessible because you don't need any kind of education or context to form an opinion of it and experience it visually. So there's always been a range of responses, and people can connect in their own way.
“Eva Morrison explores societal relationships with banal urban landscapes such as construction sites, highway overpasses and public spaces, which are given symbolic meaning as part of everyday routine commutes. Engaging with these sites through traditions of landscape painting, she frames them outside of their usual cultural context, subverting their familiarity, challenging the viewer to reconsider their perception of these sites”
Q: Where do you get your inspiration from?
A: Recently I've been reading social space theory, basically thinking about the production, representation, and use of public space especially in urban landscapes. I've been reading The Critique of Everyday Life, by Henri Lefebvre, who analyses the alienation and oppressive banality of the everyday reality, and the relationship between capitalism, modernity, and the city in France in the 50s. For him, the escape from capitalist repetition is experienced in moments of completeness, like experiences of revelation, deja-vu, or emotional clarity. Lefebvre also classified urban space in a triad; l’espace perçu (physical, perceived space like geographic locations), l’espace conçu (space conceived by city planners, architects, and urban developers), and l’espace vécu(the lived space, where social interactions happen, enforced by art and literature).
Relating this to Montreal where I live, I've been inspired by the anti-landscapes (decaying infrastructure, abandoned construction sites, deposits of snow and garbage), how these urban landscapes can be familiar to us, without being critically examined. Construction sites, a symbol of Montreal, often left unfinished with no evident outcome simultaneously representl’espace conçu, a plan for urban development, and the perceived physical geography of l’espace vécu, as we navigate around them. When I'm painting them, the “everydayness” of a space is cast aside in order to emotionally engage.
Q: Do you have a favorite painting of yours so far?
A: It changes. I'm always thinking of how I can improve so it can be hard to be 100% satisfied with any painting.
Q: Who's your favorite artist / do you have a favorite piece of art which isn’t yours ?
A: I think one of my favorite paintings is the Mystery and Melancholy of A Street by Giorgio de Chirico. I think its one of the most intriguing paintings ever made.
Q: What is your ultimate goal regarding your art?
A: My ultimate goal is to die of natural causes without succumbing to the chemical damage of oil painting.