Josie Morway

Overview

Morway’s extremely detailed style of oil and enamel painting on wood panels combines the influence of Dutch Masters’ techniques, religious icon paintings and hyper-modern color with design elements to create paintings that have been described as “votive cave paintings from the distant future.”  The wildlife in Morway’s work is portrayed with an intense reverence that escalates to surreality, creating paintings that are both politically charged and ethereally poetic.

Works
Biography

Morway’s extremely detailed style of oil and enamel painting on wood panels combines the influence of Dutch Masters’ techniques, religious icon paintings and hyper-modern color with design elements to create paintings that have been described as “votive cave paintings from the distant future.”  The wildlife in Morway’s work is portrayed with an intense reverence that escalates to surreality, creating paintings that are both politically charged and ethereally poetic.

 

Morway has been thinking with increasing urgency about threats to the natural world. “I have a deep love for wildlife and an acute terror about the increasing imbalances in our ecosystems and the cavalier destruction caused by human industry.  I’m always seeking to address these concerns in my work, and I’ve started including more explicit references to threats in my compositions, but I find I’m constitutionally unable to portray my animals in a state of despair or diminishment.  Instead, I feel compelled to give my subjects the gift of a sort of supernatural resiliency.”

 

Inspired by research into processes of bioremediation – by which plants, animals or microorganisms break down contamination in soil or water – Morway’s new paintings portray a new system by which nature might respond to crisis. This is a world in which flora and fauna are intertwined in a dance that seems by turns inspiring and disturbing, suggestive of symbiosis or entanglement, adaptation or mutation.

She adds, “I think of these paintings as somewhat talismanic, and the stranger elements are also my attempt to arrest the viewer, my plea for attention, reflection, respect. The creatures here have almost magical powers of transformation and protection, though what exactly they’re transforming into is unclear. Nature is changing, for sure, and we should never be complacent about what that change may mean.”

 

Her work has been shown in museum and galleries worldwide, from London and Australia (and streets of Juarez, Mexico) to Los Angeles, Seattle, Portland, Montana and Massachusetts, as well as at fairs like Scope at Art Basel Miami.  She’s also worked as a sign painter and muralist, creating large scale works for cities, businesses and festivals including POW! WOW! Worcester.

and seeking to challenge the assumptions and projections we bring to our interactions with the wild.