Joe Morris is an artist based in North Cornwall working with ‘tadelakt’ a centuries old form of lime plaster to create quiet and compelling contemporary art.
Tadelakt originates from Morocco and is traditionally used as a wall covering. Joe applies it with a plasterers trowel, burnishing it with a polishing stone to achieve a smooth, solid finish. The transformation of the material – from powder to fluid to ‘stone’ creates a subtle and enigmatic effect – compounded by the tiny fissures and cracks which occur naturally.
Joe’s mark making is honest and spare – cutting, carving and colouring simple lines and geometric shapes, forming what he describes as ‘glimpses of landscape’. There is something very elemental in these minimal works, which draw on his fascination with the Cornish landscape and its history. In particular Joe’s work references ancient megalithic monuments and earthworks – the pure geometry of stone circles such as the Merry Maidens and Boscawen Un in West Cornwall. Joe also observes beauty in unexpected places. Modern day interventions like pylons and telegraph cables, become clean, seductive slices through the tadelakt ‘canvas’.
Having always experimented with different forms of artistic practice: painting, life drawing, sculpture – Joe also trained as a landscape architect and gardener. He has worked on a number of projects and restorations in Cornwall. It was during his work that he first discovered tadelakt and was drawn to the idea of using it artistically. In his hands this simple wall covering becomes something completely new. Joe has found his own singular voice with which to interpret landscapes and provide us, the viewers, with space for contemplation, stillness and quiet.