BILLY SMITH MORRIS
Billy is currently at the Royal Academy studying on the post graduate programme. His work uses traditional methods of creating pointing more towards a craft aesthetic.
Billy continues to explore our human urge to want to connect to certain groups, and hold onto this idea of community whilst questioning and distorting what that idea of community really means.
"My practice is based in material and image; using a number of crafts from across cultures, stolen and scrambled to form a microcosm. It seeks an immediate response from the viewer - there is a familiarity in the mediums used, not in the everyday, but in the collective unconscious. A triggered social memory in the grandeur of Roman baths, or the power of a nation's crest. The pieces are often very tactile in their form, and I use styles of making usually associated with the ornamental.
Much of the comfort found in referencing familiar, the decorative and ornamental I disrupt by the content of the image and the dialogue between the works; the realisation of a more complex narrative. In my work I question what it means to be male, what it means to identify with a group of people or nation and where the realms of fantasy and reality blur.
Recurring figures, logos and motifs allude to a feeling of something to belong to - not that the viewer would want to be a part of it. This gives way to the question of control, hierarchy and power. The pregnant male as thief ,the pub landlord as priest, the map as a spinning compass. The pieces often resemble flags, banners or badges; symbols used by clubs or societies to mark themselves out as a collective. My practice explores why individuals, in the contemporary world, feel such a need to belong to a distinct, definable community; and furthermore why these groups seek to regress to a point that many believe we have grown past.
More recently my work, and its ideas of belonging, can be seen as a response to contemporary political and social shifts such as the contemporary revival of esoterism, conspiracy culture and nationalism, a building of ‘alternative facts’. I believe this culture of distrust and uncertainty stems directly from a growth in the culture of individualism, facilitated by the internet marketing each person as a unique and isolated being. My work is presenting this fictionalising back to the viewer, a world simplistic on appearance yet as contradictory and distrustful as what they are trying to escape - a club which no one can be a member of, as it does not truly exist."
BILLY SMITH MORRIS