John Morris
Irish Artist Noted For Impressionist Waterscapes, Beachscapes and Landscape Painting: Representational Art.

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Inch Beach (detail).

John Morris (b.1958)
Irish Plein-Air Painter

If you asked the top Irish representational artists, 'who is the best painter of reflected light on water?' I suspect the universal answer would be: John Morris. And no wonder. His extraordinary powers of observation, and hand-eye coordination, must be the envy of many academically trained artists. A master of plein-air painting, his rapid minimalist-inclined brushwork captures glistening light like no other artist I've seen. And like all real masters, he makes it look so easy - and beautiful. Which is why his widely exhibited works are so highly sought after by collectors, and represented in public and private collections across Ireland, in the USA, and further afield. Not bad for a largely self-taught artist, who says modestly that his ambition is to "increase my skill to describe my subject better."

• For other postmodernists in Ireland, see: Contemporary Irish Artists.
• For the world's best, see: Top 200 Contemporary Artists.


End Of July, Inch Beach.


Evening Dun Laoghaire Harbour.

BEST IRISH ARTISTS
For a list of the leading Irish
painters, see: Best Irish Artists.

Born in Dublin, Morris began painting in 1997 with no formal training in drawing. His works include a wide variety of waterscapes, seascapes, and rural landscapes, as well as townscapes such as his recent outstanding views of Venice. All these subjects are captured spontaneously in his understated Impressionist style, which adds more than a little magic to the canvas.

Like many Impressionist landscapes, Morris' paintings convey two things: first, his boundless love of nature, along with a fascination for light, atmosphere and distance; second, his compositional ability, an essential quality for rapid outdoor painting. One can only imagine the amount of solitary effort and practice required to achieve the degree of freshness in his pictures. Indeed, Morris himself alluded to this preparatory training when he described his compulsive habit of making "quick oil or pencil sketches when something has caught my eye! Mornings and evenings, come rain, hail or shine I will stop and do this, gradually putting together a kind of...visual diary which I use as reference for my paintings."


Dun Laoghaire Harbour.

POSTMODERNIST ART
For late 20th century paintings,
see: Contemporary Art.

Encouraged by other professional artists, and by sales of his work in open exhibitions at venues like The Rotunda Hospital, Morris began showing his work in galleries. Since then, he has enjoyed numerous solo shows in venues such as Kenny Gallery (Galway 2004, 2008), Waterford Festival (2005), Garreth O'Connor & Associates (Dublin 2006), Daffodil Gallery (Skerries 2007), Gormleys Gallery (Belfast 2007), Barbara Stanley Gallery (London 2008).

In addition, he has participated in a large number of group exhibitions throughout Ireland - north and south - the UK, and the United States. See his works in galleries like Gormleys Fine Art.

Now a full-time artist, he lives in County Limerick, where he works out of his studio at his house in Abbeyfeale, close to the landscape that he paints. He has been married for 19 years and has three children.

In terms of his contribution to Irish art, Morris stands with other highly talented contemporary representational painters in Ireland, who are trying to maintain and promote traditional painterly values. Along with Norman Teeling, David Nolan, Paul Kelly and Henry McGrane, he is a member of the new artist group, the Oil Painters of Ireland, whose aim is to promote the appreciation of high quality representational oil painting.

If this means we may be seeing more works of the style and quality of John Morris, I am entirely in favour. While non-representational artworks can extend and enrich our understanding of art, they cannot do justice to the beauty and freshness of nature (including the human form), which is still the fundamental source of artistic DNA for fine art painting and sculpture around the world.

To contact John Morris, or to see more outstanding examples of his works, please visit his website: www.johnmorrisartist.com

Review written by Neil Collins (Editor) (August 2008).

• For more about contemporary visual artists, see: Homepage.
• For a review of landscape art, see: Irish Landscape Artists.


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