Shaun Morris. Ice Cream Wars, Oil on Canvas

Night Walks, an exhibition of Paintings by Shaun Morris
3rd to 29th April 2023
Malvern Library, Book and Cup Café, Great Malvern, Worcs.

Night Walks, Nighthawks

This exhibition will draw those who find the shadows and colours of night richer than darkness.  If you appreciate Edward Hoppers work, you will find much to please you here, a comfort and warmth within the emerald reflections on white vans, and purple and mauve street lit skies.

Morris has teamed the exhibition with extracts of text, including After Working by Roy Fisher and The Painter of the Night by James Tate, adding deeper insight, guiding the audience to the experiences of night through other eyes. His appreciation of narrative is demonstrated in this decision considerately supporting his personal interpretations.

Shaun Morris takes lessons from past eras of painters, the romantics and the modernists and blends them with vibrant textural strokes on canvas, observing the sometimes unseen urban beauty of objects while the world sleeps. Pictured below Suburb places a garden tree in a focal spotlight of dark skies and vivid green light.

Shaun Morris, Suburb, Oil on Canvas
Shaun Morris, Suburb, Oil on Canvas

There is contrast beyond the pigments, in the ways in which Morris applies the oils, I was intrigued by the stark changes in application, where some painting such as Ice Cream Wars indicated colours were applied wet on wet, where the canvas became palette, in contrast to other images like Late Night Flight, where defined areas of colour appeared to have been separately applied or layered.

Morris explained his process to me:

‘As much as possible I try to actually premix everything before I paint and then try and paint the whole thing in one session.  This is risky but I like that almost performance like approach, trying to capture the moment with little going back. That of course doesn’t always work! So it is either abandoned or then worked on more slowly which is the case with Late Night Flight, which unusually for me I had to work out, almost like a puzzle, the different colour relationships which I think make it appear like it has been built, piece by piece compared to others where, as you say, most of the painting is very much wet in wet which I love.’

For me, this exhibition holds still the beauty of night moments, ones often missed or rushed through, as a hasty sanctuary from the dark is instinctively sought. I recommend you take some time in your day to Morris’s exhibition and visit the streets and night scenes of the Midlands to slow down and immerse like a nighthawk in the intimacy of the night.

By: Juliet Mootz

The Shaun Morris exhibition is on display at the Book and Cup Cafe at Malvern Library.  Check Library times for access.

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