b. 1967, USA

Sarah Morris Biography

Influenced by Minimal and Conceptual art, American artist Sarah Morris creates complex abstract paintings and films. Her unique compositions play with architecture and the psychology of the urban. Morris' artistic practice investigates what she describes as 'urban, social and bureaucratic typologies'.

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Early Life

Sarah Morris was born in Sevenoaks, England. She graduated in 1989 from Brown University in Providence, Rhode Island, U.S.A. with a BA. During her time at Brown, Morris also attended Cambridge University in England. Shortly after graduating, she was invited to participate in the Whitney Museum of American Art Independent Study Program from 1989 to 1990.

Morris began her career by experimenting with large-scale paintings that featured abstract geometric forms. Her early works reconfigured the emotive language used in the media by presenting it in a vibrant Pop style. This soon developed into city-based paintings made from household gloss paint on canvas. These works depict colourful architectural designs in square grids. Morris' bold use of colour is derived from each city's idiosyncratic language and energy. Her ability to layer geometric structures that are inspired by real buildings creates a disorientating and abstract perspective of urban landscape.

Sarah Morris Artworks

In her film work, Morris manoeuvres the camera to both mesmerise and alienate the viewer. Like her labyrinthine paintings, Morris draws inspiration from real life settings and scenarios.

Los Angeles (2004)

In Los Angeles (2004), Morris investigates the architecture, culture, and aesthetics of the city. The 26-minute video looks at the external and internal aspects of the city, focusing on things like the geography of the area and the psychology of the city dwellers.

Morris' thoughtful cinematography reveals the city's preoccupation with ambition and celebrity culture. Scenes of actors including Nicole Kidman, Bill Murray, and Sofia Coppola create a flashy setting of urban landscape. Morris' narrative exposes the mechanisms of filmmaking and celebrity that make up Los Angeles and the fame-focused industry it has become.

Rio (2012)

Rio (2012) is Morris' eleventh film. Like Los Angeles, Rio (2012) explores the psychological dynamics of the urban, this time in Rio de Janeiro. The artist portrays mundane scenes of day-to-day life in a sprawling city alongside dazzling and eroticised images of carnival. The artist's cinematography flashes between frames of iconic modernist buildings, Ipanema—Brazil's most famous beach, production lines in factories, and the communities inhabiting Rio's favelas.

Her multifaceted film also features recognised figures in Rio's history and culture. She captures individuals like Eduardo Paes, the Mayor of Rio, in his headquarters, and Oscar Niemeyer, a key Brazilian architect, in his private office. Morris' criss-crossing visual commentary reveals Rio de Janeiro's outward-facing identity and a psychology of the city that is masked by figures, facades, and a complex political history.

Strange Magic (2014)

Sarah Morris' film Strange Magic (2014) was commissioned for the opening of Fondation Louis Vuitton in Paris. In this work, the artist unravels physical environments and deconstructs the mechanisms of high-end products such as perfume, champagne, and fashion—France's most desirable commodities. Strange Magic (2014) depicts the artist's interest in the commodity of production and its conception as something both physical and intangible.


Morris has exhibited widely, with solo exhibitions including Infinite Games... 2, Capitain Petzel, Berlin (2021); Artists For New York, Hauser & Wirth, New York (2020); The Odysseus Factor, Ullens Center for Contemporary Art, Beijing (2018); Sarah Morris, Espoo Museum of Modern Art, Finland (2017); Hellion Equilibrium, Dirimart, Istanbul (2016); Galeria do Rock, White Cube, Sao Paulo (2015); Clips, Knots and 1972, Gallery Hyundai, Seoul (2010); Endeavor, Palais de Tokyo, Paris (2005); Correspondence, Nationalgalerie im Hamburger Bahnhof, Berlin (2001); and Sarah Morris, Modern Art Oxford (1999).

Group exhibitions include Desde el Salón (From the Living Room) Sol Calero selects from the Hiscox Collection, Whitechapel Gallery, London (2020); Art and China after 1989: Theater of the World, Guggenheim, Bilbao (2018) and Solomon R. Guggenheim, New York (2017); Days like These: The Tate Triennial Exhibition of Contemporary British Art, Tate Britain, London (2003); Iconografias Metropolitanas, 25th Sao Paulo Biennal Centro Cultural Banco do Brasilia (2002); and Beau Monde: Toward a Redeemed Cosmopolitan, 4th Site Santa Fe Biennial (2001).j

Website and Instagram

Sarah Morris' website can be found here and her Instagram can be found here.

Phoebe Bradford | Ocula | 2021

Sarah Morris Featured Artworks

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Mubadala [Abu Dhabi] by Sarah Morris contemporary artwork painting
Sarah Morris Mubadala [Abu Dhabi], 2015 Household gloss on canvas
152.5 x 152.5 cm
White Cube Contact Gallery
Phase Six [Spiderweb] by Sarah Morris contemporary artwork painting
Sarah Morris Phase Six [Spiderweb], 2021 Household gloss paint on canvas
165.3 x 122 cm
White Cube Contact Gallery
Trap [Spiderweb] by Sarah Morris contemporary artwork works on paper
Sarah Morris Trap [Spiderweb], 2021 Household gloss paint on canvas
152 x 152 cm
White Cube Contact Gallery
Rio by Sarah Morris contemporary artwork sculpture, photography, moving image
Sarah Morris Rio, 2012 Film installation, HD film 88'33''
Fortes D'Aloia & Gabriel Enquire
Property Must Be Seen as Compensation [Sound Graph] by Sarah Morris contemporary artwork painting
Sarah Morris Property Must Be Seen as Compensation [Sound Graph], 2018 Household gloss paint on canvas
122 x 122 cm
MEYER KAINER Contact Gallery
Capital (A Film by Sarah Morris), 2001 (For Parkett 61) by Sarah Morris contemporary artwork print
Sarah Morris Capital (A Film by Sarah Morris), 2001 (For Parkett 61), 2001 8 colour silkscreen on 300gm Somerset Satin
151.4 x 101.4 cm
Parkett Contact Gallery
Vertical Power 2 by Sarah Morris contemporary artwork print
Sarah Morris Vertical Power 2, 2018 Screenprint
90 x 90 cm
Paragon Contact Gallery
Enemy [Sound Graph] by Sarah Morris contemporary artwork painting
Sarah Morris Enemy [Sound Graph], 2018 Household gloss on canvas
60 x 60 cm
Not for sale
Para Site

Sarah Morris Recent Exhibitions

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Sarah Morris Represented By

Paragon contemporary art gallery in London, United Kingdom Paragon London
White Cube contemporary art gallery in Mason's Yard, London, United Kingdom White Cube Aspen, Hong Kong, London, New York, Paris, West Palm Beach

Sarah Morris In Ocula Magazine

Sarah Morris In Related Press

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Sarah Morris In Video & Audio

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