FotoFest Exhibitions

Joey Lehman Morris

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Joey Lehman Morris emphasizes the physical properties of photographic material to invigorate a renewed dialogue between photography and the presence of place. Highlighting the sculptural element of their construction, Morris exhibits his large-format prints in deliberate and surprising positions. Depicting his native South West landscape and its occasionally absurd man-made constructions, Morris’ work reflects his investigation of the possibilities for disrupting language’s dominion over associated image, evoking such early Southern California conceptual artists as Robert Cumming, who juxtaposes references of art history and science. An emphasis on the sculptural presence of his installed photographic works also provides Morris a means to explore the nature of time and attention, and to convey a willing embrace of the ambiguities of photographic practice. As he observes, “A photograph can only prolong a very small and very altered variant of the thing that it wishes to fix and preserve. My images do not promote preservation, but they do opt for a type of stillness.” In Black Mountain Detachment: Two Nights, From Waxing to Fully Stated (2008), photographed by moonlight with long exposure over two nights, Morris contrasts the pitch-dark face of the mountain with the bright craggy surface of the desert floor, paring down his subject to its minimal surfaces and textures in a process he calls “photographic subtraction”. Applying the stillness of prolonged attention to the scene of an extreme yet actual horizon, Morris heightens our awareness of the landscape. By offering an evocative sense of place, he expands the sense of possibility for new meaning.


Joey Lehman Morris was born and raised in Los Angeles, California, where he currently lives and works. He earned his B.F.A. at the University of Southern California, Los Angeles (2004) and his M.F.A. from the University of California, Irvine (2008). Working primarily with photography, he employs, in his sculptural concerns for the medium, an examination of he said is “the sway of time and language on landscape.” His recent solo and group projects include Landlot, Galería Perdida/Project Row Houses, Houston; Infrastructure, Wignall Museum, Rancho Cucamonga, California; Wreckers, Records and Redeemers, LA>< Art, Los Angeles; Alternative Places, Los Angeles International Airport; Oranges and Paper: MFA Thesis Exhibition, University of California, Irvine; The Doubt Can Just Roll off the Tongue, Shotgun Space, Los Angeles; and A Face in the Crowd, in collaboration with Marcus Civin, Catalyst Gallery, Irvine