A surprise text and I'm walking to The Poly in Falmouth for the private view of an exhibition by Joe Morris, a long lost friend I haven't seen for ten years. It's a joint show with Tim Lake a potter based just down the road from our home in Penryn. I gaze lovingly at Tim's glazed rice bowls and lidded containers every time I pass his studio.
I'm delighted when we arrive. Not only is it lovely to see Joe and his wife Lucy, but it is apparent that his work is wonderful. Relief and joy.
Joe works with Tadelakt, a form of lime plaster from Morocco, which is traditionally used as a wall covering. He applies it with a plasterers trowel, burnishing it with a polishing stone to achieve an enigmatic smooth finish.
Using different techniques - cutting, carving, colour - his mark making is honest and spare. Simple lines, geometric shapes and what he describes as 'glimpses' of landscape. The journey of the material - from powder to fluid to 'stone' seems to carry though in some way. The effect is very subtle and compelling.
When I last saw Joe he was working as a landscape architect and gardener - setting off to restore an extraordinary heritage building in Cornwall. During another building project in the area, he came across Tadelakt and was drawn to the idea of using it artistically. In his hands a simple wall covering becomes something completely new. He has found his own vehicle to interpret landscapes and with it forms stillness and quiet.
Image: 'Totally Wired' by Joe Morris. Photograph courtesy of the artist
Words: Josie Ballin