In conversation with Alastair Lawrence.
Mali Morris is an abstract artist whose paintings have a fascination with colour and light. Hers is an art of directness with paint, of layering and transparencies, with luminosity as the aim.
Mali Morris was born in 1945 and raised in North Wales with a Welsh speaking father. She had a childhood in the mountains of Snowdonia and by the sea near the Menai Strait where she remembers the ‘dance of space’ over the water. For her recent appearance on the Radio 3 programme Private Passions, she chose the traditional Welsh song Ar lan y mor, sung by Bryn Terfel.
She studied fine art at the University of Newcastle upon Tyne, where pop artist Richard Hamilton ran the first year. Her first solo exhibitions were at the Serpentine Summer Show in London, 1977 and the Ikon Gallery, 1979. And it is there in Birmingham that Mali has had her most recent show. A big project of public art saw banners of her work hung above Bond Street in 2022.
Mali Morris has taught at many Departments of Fine Art latterly at Chelsea School of Art until 2005. In March 2010 she was elected as a Member of the Royal Academy of Arts and shows at the summer exhibitions there.
As a Bob Dylan fan she calls her own career a never-ending tour where curiosity ensures that there is always something around the corner. Where doubt is important, but a certain amount of confidence is needed too. And putting in those many hours, day after day in her studio. This is in an old warehouse by Deptford Creek in London. Here Mali is part of the Art in Perpetuity Trust that also offers affordable gallery space and educational programmes in the local community.
Alastair Laurence, who is curating this series, is a freelance documentary film maker who lives near Abergavenny. In recent years Alastair has made films about The Battle of the Somme, a history of British Photography and the poets John Betjeman, Philip Larkin and TS Eliot.
Photo – Mali Morris – credit Steve Lewis.