Wednesday, 4 October 2017




Colleen Morris, artist, has a fascination with water.

Of all the elements water is perhaps the most alchemical – solid-fluid, transparent/translucent-opaque, fast-slow, snow-steam, and all the colours of the sky. And if you dip into Robert Macfarlane’s Landmarks (2015) you will discover page upon page of water words. Words for moving water, words for pools, ponds and lakes, words for rain and storm, riverbed and riverbank, springs and wells, swimming and splashing, water’s surface and wetlands – the nigh infinite manifestations of ‘things wet’ … that place where we begin, where we began, fluid.

Water sculpts – the drip drip drip, the laser-cut, the debris-piles of storm, and worn wood on the beach. Water has many means to change the world.

Apparently Australians per se have a particular fascination with water: ‘a swimming pool is opening in the NGV’ reads the banner, ‘an architectural showcase straight from Venice’. The Pool: Architecture, Culture & Identity was first shown at the 2016 Venice Architecture Biennale, far from the Fitzroy Baths, the Bondi Icebergs or the Ninety Mile Beach. Certainly, Australians fancy their watery littoral, and the pool, as the writing of Australians Robert Drewe and Tim Winton attest, both had childhoods spent on the west coast and their work seems steeped in the creative pull of the ocean. To wit, Drewe’s The Bodysurfers, The Drowner, The Rip and on his website, where he’s pictured ear-deep, Drewe observes:The Swan River and Indian Ocean coast, where he learned to swim and surf, made an immediate and lasting impression’. Winton’s work includes Blood and Water, Land’s Edge, Rising Water, The Deep, An Open Swimmer, The Shallows. In the east the chlorine blue of aqua profonda is author Helen Garner’s ‘signature’.  For millennia unimaginable water has guided the inhabitants, who understand it, fearlessly across this vast continent, the thread of water-instinct leading the way.

Water creates – carving through land to sustain, to reconfigure, to seep, to spring, to wash. A dash improves a scotch.

Here Morris explores the lake networks in the Beeac area. Salt water is preponderant across the globe, and the grassy volcanic plains of Kanawinka are saline with the significant exception of Lake Colac, the largest freshwater lake in the state of Victoria. Morris teases out the artist’s place in this elemental map: the ‘fluid links between artists, ecology and the environment’ with artwork that ‘references and interprets’ waterways and their relationships to a stimulating and sustainable environment.

The Poetry of Water Paths, in conjunction with Melbourne Fringe 2017 is Morris’ most recent work prior to Waterways at WINDOWSPACE.

For more information regarding Morris’ work see:

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