Artist Josie Morway creates fierce portraits of wildlife set in abstracted apocalyptic environments and interspersed with geometric linework, colorful paint drips, and mysterious Latin text. Morway often features birds in her oil and enamel paintings, using the graceful shapes of the animals’ elongated necks and sweeping wings to draw the viewer’s eye around the artwork. Many of Morway’s works also interweave plants: ferns, succulents, and blossoming flowers emerge from around her animal subjects’ bodies.
The artist shares with Colossal that the Latin lettering that embellishes some of her paintings is heavily abstracted from old mottos. “I don’t mean for them to be read too literally, but rather hope they lend a certain feeling of portentousness to the pieces,” Morway explains. “I like referencing religious icon paintings and other forms of ‘serious’ historic painting, but using animals and birds in the place of saints, etc. I’m going for the feeling of narrative realism, but working with a narrative that’s mysterious, missing some information, open to the viewer’s interpretation.”
Morway will have a piece on view at Antler Gallery in Portland starting June 9, 2018, as part of PDX/LAX II, a collaborative exhibit with Los Angeles gallery Thinkspace Projects, as well as a two person show in October. You can also find her work in Australia at Beinart Gallery’s group show starting July 13. The artist shares updates on her work via Instagram.
Do stories and artists like this matter to you? Become a Colossal Member and support independent arts publishing. Join a community of like-minded readers who are passionate about contemporary art, help support our interview series, gain access to partner discounts, and much more. Join now!