Devin N. Morris
I am a Brooklyn based multidisciplinary artist. I utilize collage as a base to construct surreal environments. My many experiences of American life are reassembled through a lens of dissonance. I diligently consider color theory, themes of identity, perspective-play, placements of domestic objects and fabrics to distort planes of reality and subconscious memory. The viewer is often immersed in the work, allowed access through shared memory or culture, and physical embodiment of shared space. These shared spaces are discussed through collages, utilizing acrylic paints, colored papers, photographs and three dimensional objects, spatial arrangements in photography, are also achieved in painting, fabric & object based installations.
I combine elements of two-dimensional collage with three-dimensional objects, abstracting domestic environments. Using various found materials, my arrangements question how the collective use of an object or body informs its future, as well as how intimacy and ownership transform the utility of domestic spaces and extend their mythology. Each familiar object within these environments houses its own presence and is handled as a fully considered work, resulting collectively in a whole reconsidered place.
Employing various digital, physical, and immersive strategies, my multimedia practice focuses on collage and dissonance as a means to engage societal conventions and expectations. The works are emotionally charged and sumptuous, as subjects appear simultaneously familiar and out of reach. In these interactions between person and place, both intimate and imagined, I look to breakdown and reconfigure what one assumes of the spaces we occupy, both within and outside of ourselves.
I look to cultivate a sense of joy and movement in my collage arrangements. At times I place the likeness of many domestic and performative environments into one image. I find the space that arrives between real and imagined life to be very exciting and use my imagination as well as memories to create content for the pieces. In “Frozen Cup” I was inspired by the many ways one may live in an urban setting. Through urbanity I believe surreality thrives as cities move visually as you eclipse there many hills and peaks whether from the vantage point of a car or on foot or one leaving an elevator. You see the same landscape very differently, often.
I am very conscious of the images that are populated to represent the realities of Black life in America. Within my mixed media works I like to show cooperation and kindnesses as that’s what I always remember the most when doing any daily task, the people who helped me achieve it or lent a smile or compliment that brighten ones day. In works like “Hold Me Up” 2017, “Nate, 5pm June 15, 2018”, and “3 Names to Remember” 2018 I wanted to reference those occasions, the refracted moments that act as shards to days that often feel like broken glass. Urbanity is complex and I like to access those complexities in many ways.
The “11 Conveniences” series utilizes monochrome staging of fabrics and cherished and found items which a figure or character is arranged within for a photograph. By mining joyous and nostalgic memories, I create dialogues that address queer identity and the imposed boundaries of sexuality. I consider my characters to be dressed for going out as parents might leave their children when “stepping out” for the night, or to get the entire family “dressed up” in their finest clothing for church.
I look for ways to extend the photographic language around distortion, depth, and subversion of the eye. Subjects and objects are arranged in a way that reads as a compilation, as I am often trying to readdress the many assembled parts of my disparate African American history.