Locky Morris: From day one, mother’s tankstation, Dublin, April – May 2010

 Locky Morris: From day one, 2010, installation shot; courtesy mother\
Locky Morris: From day one, 2010, installation shot; courtesy mother's tankstation

Ever since Arthur C Danto spoke of “the passing of the pure” in relation to Greenbergian modernism and the ensuing “art after the end of art” theories, for many artists who engage with ‘ordinary life’ as their subject, the tendency has been to move towards the rubric of ‘the everyday’. [1] Jonathan Watkins defined ‘the everyday’ as not having a specific style and "not art about art." [2] Despite the combination of styles and forms Locky Morris implements in his latest exhibition From day one at mother’s tankstation, incorporating sound pieces, photographs and sculptures, all have been informed by art’s histories. Encouraging the viewer to reconsider the often overlooked creaturely rituals and ‘stuff’ that make up the day-to-day, he simultaneously brings dignity to daily life and values these within the esteemed place of the art world.
The works, or “daily epiphanies” as the artist calls them [3], offer the viewer an alternative lens from which to consider everyday existence. The materials from which he constructs his finished works are generally ignored and discarded ephemera, cast aside because of their ubiquity. His ‘skill’ as an artist is to transform them into artworks. By his (re)presentation of the banal, ranging from a pile of laundry, a used lottery ticket, or the cardboard from the packaging that came with his daughter’s first school shirt, the viewer is encouraged to ponder ‘the everyday as an art object’ that straddles a kind of ‘off modern’ aesthetic. This is taken to further ends because we are viewing the work within a traditional art space, the white cube, albeit a gallery that also exists as a home. The exhibition therefore unveils the ambiguities that have existed between the everyday and art ever since the former was theorised and adopted by artists.
 Locky Morris: This building, 2010, upright piano elements, LP, framed photograph, powered speakers, CDR (looped audio), dimensions variable (approx. 50 x 150 x 145 cm); courtesy mother\
Locky Morris: This building, 2010, upright piano elements, LP, framed photograph, powered speakers, CDR (looped audio), dimensions variable (approx. 50 x 150 x 145 cm); courtesy mother's tankstation

Locky Morris: Off the shoulder number, 2008, video projector, sign holder, text on overhead projection sheet, DVD, dimensions variable; courtesy mother\
Locky Morris: Off the shoulder number, 2008, video projector, sign holder, text on overhead projection sheet, DVD, dimensions variable; courtesy mother's tankstation

In This building a phantasmagorical essence underlies the work. Within the space of the gallery the artist has constructed a sound sculptural piece composed of the remnants of an upright piano, a found LP, a framed photograph and powered speakers. A continuous loop of street sounds and basic piano notes emanates from the speakers, bringing the outside sounds of the everyday into the gallery combining with the inside sounds of the piano. The other sound piece in the exhibition, Off the shoulder number, also plays with the idea of inside and outside space. Made from a video projector, sign holder, text on a projection sheet, and DVD, the artist again juxtaposes sounds from the outside with those from the domestic or private space. Apparently the artist borrowed a video camera and accidentally left it on, recording the incidental street sounds which he then decided to transform into this artwork. The title’s humorous slant suggests a fashionable style, but also the manner of carrying the camera off the shoulder. It also suggests a slippage between the intention and the accidental within the process itself.
 Locky Morris: Acid-free, 2007 - 2009, empty Rennie packaging, 35mm slide trays, wall lights, dimensions variable; courtesy mother\
Locky Morris: Acid-free, 2007 - 2009, empty Rennie packaging, 35mm slide trays, wall lights, dimensions variable; courtesy mother's tankstation

In Acid free Morris continues his “forensically close examination of the everyday shot through with a sense of absurdity and references to the history of art” by assembling hundreds of tiny plastic packets of antacid medicine to make a piece that is imbued with “the formal rigour, elegance and new found dignity of a Dan Lavin installation.” [3] Morris is making art about art from the material of the everyday, and placing himself as the subject of the artwork - this medicine is part of the artist’s daily existence.
 Locky Morris: Acid-free (detail), 2007 - 2009, empty Rennie packaging, 35mm slide trays, wall lights, dimensions variable; courtesy mother\
Locky Morris: Acid-free (detail), 2007 - 2009, empty Rennie packaging, 35mm slide trays, wall lights, dimensions variable; courtesy mother's tankstation

This fascination for the ordinary and the rituals within the home is also observed in the photographic piece Stair pile. The repetitive, tedious domestic chore of laundry is rendered into an aesthetically composed image, as are the nine bottles of beer in Frozen export. In the work Itch the artist has created a sculptural piece from the shavings left over from a lottery scratch card.
 Locky Morris: From day one, 2008, illuminated glass display case, carpet, crumpled card (child shirt collar insert), 63.5 x 63.5 x 68 cm; courtesy mother\
Locky Morris: From day one, 2008, illuminated glass display case, carpet, crumpled card (child shirt collar insert), 63.5 x 63.5 x 68 cm; courtesy mother's tankstation

In White dog and seat another chance moment is captured as the domestic pet lies on its back, feet up beside the upturned plastic garden furniture, echoing body and form. The artwork From day one marks the first day of his daughter’s school: the packaging that held the shape of the school shirt in place had been cast aside; Morris as father and artist noticed the shape the cardboard had taken as it fell on the floor. By collecting the cardboard and encasing it, similarly to Itch, the artist preserves as art a moment that will never come again.
The ‘infra’-ordinary therefore, under Morris’ watch, becomes a world of wonder. Morris knows how to merge the accidental and purposeful, the crude and the sophisticated, the form and the content, within a combination of artistic languages that thoroughly convince.
Jane Humphries is a writer who is currently researching for a PhD entitled '(Re)imagining the domestic in contemporary Irish art' at TRIARC, Department of Art History, University of Dublin Trinity College.
1. Arthur C. Danto, After the End of Art: Contemporary Art at the Pale of History, New Jersey, 1997.

2. Jonathan Watkins, ‘Everyday 1998’, in Stephen Johnstone, The Everyday: Documents in Contemporary Art, London 2008, p. 62.

3. Press release, mother's tankstation.