July 19, 2016

Spotlight: Lizzi Morris

Lizzi Morris explores femininity with abstract sketches, 
mixed media sculptures, woven textiles, and more.

Lizzi Morris is one of the most diversely talented artists I've encountered. Currently residing in Australia, she recently obtained her Bachelor of Arts in Fine Arts and is in her final year of study for her honors work. Lizzi’s drawings range from illustrations of women to more abstract sketches. Her work in sculpture reminds me of Eva Hesse in its experimentations through various materials and forms. These sculptures combine soft, pillowy fabric pieces with more industrial materials like metal chain. They perfectly represent the true complexity of femininity – all the combined soft and hard edges that are at once at odds and even more beautiful together. Speaking with Lizzi was a perfect compliment to the experience of seeing her pieces: she is thoughtful and generous while simultaneously having an acutely strong outlook on her art and the subjects she tackles through it.

The Le Sigh: I noticed that you’ve worked in lots of different mediums – illustration, woven textiles, mixed media sculptures, painting, clay. How has exploring different formats affected your work? 

Lizzi Morris: Playing around with different materials and processes has always excited me and is so important to my practice. When I started using textiles and objects, I became interested in tactility and how it feels to physically interact with material, through sewing or moving objects around within a space. Using sewing evoked an interest to learn about the history of gendered and feminized processes of making, which has allowed me to develop both as an artist and as a feminist. I use drawing as a way of coming up with sculptures before I make them, thinking about their size and what materials I would use. It also allows me to situate the objects in a hypothetical installation, seeing how the objects would relate to one another within a space. I also use drawing as an afterthought, where I document an object or an installation.

TLS: Outside of other artists, where do you find inspiration for your work?

LM: Looking at materials inspires me so much. I love walking around a hardware or fabric store and picking up objects or materials, trying to figure out what I could make with them. This always excites and motivates me to explore materials and to make new things. Textures, colours and the physical qualities of objects inspire me. From your illustrations of girls to your sculptures that involve lots of soft pink objects, it seems like femininity is a theme that ties a lot of your work together.

TLS: Has your view of femininity changed along with your work at all? 

LM: Yes definitely! My illustrations of girls were a way for me to explore my body, and myself. I was drawing people with bodies like mine, which helped me to develop self-confidence and self-love, these were people who I identified with and wanted to look like, whose confidence I wanted to embody.

My current practice now explores materials and the way that they interact with and affect one another in a physical conversation. I’m interested in not only the inherent qualities of the objects, but also the interpretations of materials and processes, questioning how and why we read materials or techniques of making as being gendered, feminised or sexualised.

TLS: How do you think your art has changed and been affected by your time in school? Did you always know you wanted to study art?

LM: Studying art forced me to constantly make work, which has been so important to the progression of my practice. I have found that even if you don’t particularly like the final outcome, that doesn’t mean that it wasn't worthwhile or isn’t valid, it’s all a part of the process of learning about what you enjoy making. I think this way of making allowed me to freely experiment a lot with materials, which is why my work has consistently changed throughout my years of study and allowed me to develop a practice that I am happy with and excited by right now. I didn’t always wanted to study art specifically, but I always wanted to do something creative with myself.

TLS: Do you think you’ll continue exploring more mediums or have you found one that you want to make your focus?

LM: I am constantly looking for new materials to play with; my practice really revolves around being experimental with processes, objects, materials and installation. Although drawing is usually where I come up with the ideas for my sculpture and installations, making soft sculpture with textiles, physically moving objects around in a space and exploring the dialogues between the objects is the most exciting and rewarding part of my practice.

You can see more of Lizzi’s work here and follow her instagram @lizzi.morris.

Chloe Arnold is a young person planning her big escape from her hometown into the ~real world~. She writes online, most consistently at Plasma Dolphin, and also created the zine Funny Women. Follow her on twitter @suburban_dog.