The Cut Digital Archive

Derek Morris

Wednesday 19th January 2022 - 7:00 pm

The Cut Digital Archive is a series of interviews and talks with artists that have exhibited at The Cut.

Kasia Posen, herself a local artist, talks to artists to discuss their practice and studio life.

Next in the series is Derek Morris via Zoom.

Gaston Bachelard in “The Dialectics of Outside and Inside” writes of “the interior immensity and spatial dizziness that can result even from small spaces that lend themselves to sudden accessibility”.

I consider myself to be operating within the European Modernist tradition of Constructed Art, although I have been stimulated over the last twenty years or so by American Minimalism and Phenomenal art from California.

In the mid nineties of the last century I was making free standing sculptures exclusively in ceramic. In 1997 I made a small relief again out of ceramic which was wall hung. This tentative beginning was the start of a preoccupation with the relatively shallow space which exists between a viewer and the walls which surround our lives. Ceramic was not right for this new approach, so I began making works in stainless steel, plywood, perspex, paint, mirror, gold and silver leaf, mesh and LED lights. In recent works indeterminate spaces suggested by light and reflections are contained by strongly drawn forms, (some of which are influenced by the simplicity of Romanesque and modernist architecture) and visually blocked by grids of various kinds. Repetition and shifts in viewpoints increase the complexity of the space which develops in the wall sculptures. In this context layering becomes an integral element in the build up towards a unified whole, and colour and texture add to the overall mood of the works. Although there is overtly no subject matter supporting this work other than the realities of geometric structure, the powerful impact of materiality through edge, surface and colour and the disquieting realisation of small spaces, all work together to achieve a synthesis of these qualities which has not only an intellectual dimension but also an emotional presence too. The intention throughout, by using modest means and relatively mundane materials, is to create unexpected and varied spatial experiences, not being abstract so much as simply presenting other aspects of reality based upon the the language of geometry.

All the works are carefully planned and measured in detailed working drawings in order to establish ways of constructing these often complex objects. Laser cutting, routers, jig saws and bandsaws are used in their manufacture.

While I am not interested in mathematics as a discipline, these sculptures sometimes deal with the golden section and are concerned specifically with proportion and balance. But in the end, I do not rely solely on measurement, there always remains an element of intuition.

Derek Morris 2016


1940 Born Birmingham, England.
1958 – 1963 Studied Fine Art at Newcastle upon Tyne University
1963 – 1964 Studied at Chelsea School of Art
1971 Appointed Course Leader in Sculpture at Norwich School of Art
1990 Retired from Norwich School of Art
1990 Appointed to the Arts Panel of the King of Hearts Centre for The Arts, Norwich
1991 – 1994 External Assessor, Fine Art Sculpture, University of Manchester
1992 – 1994 External Assessor, MA Sculpture, University of Newcastle upon Tyne.
1996 Nominated Fellow of the Royal British Society of Sculptors
1998 Appointed President of the Royal British Society of Sculptors
1998 – 2004 Continued as President of the RBSS
1999 – 2002 External Assessor, Fine Art Sculpture, Kingston University
2000 Appointed Trustee St Etheldreda Studios Norwich
2004 Retired as President of the RBSS
2005 Appointed Committee Member Norfolk Contemporary Art Society
2009 Voted Member of Norwich 20 Group
2009 Became a Trustee of the charity Sculpture for Norwich


2000 – 2001 Sculpture at Wingfield Arts, Suffolk
2001 Ironbridge Museum of Steel Sculpture, Cast Iron Workshop
2002 Langham Fine Arts, Suffolk
2003 Summer Exhibition, Royal British Society of Sculptors, London
2004 Manufactured in the UK, Villa Boriglione, Torino, Italy
2005 Summer Exhibition, Royal British Society of Sculptors, London
2005 Elm Hill Contemporary Art, Norwich
2007 Works from the Gotto Collection, King of Hearts, Norwich
2007 Derek Morris, The Cut, Halesworth, Suffolk
2008 Norfolk Contemporary Art 2008, The Forum, Norwich
2008 Norwich Castle Open Art Show, The Castle Museum and Art Gallery, Norwich
2009 Norwich 20 Group Exhibition, Bally Shoe Factory, Norwich

2010 Norfolk Contemporary Art 2010, The Forum, Norwich
2010 Derek Morris, 25 Years Thinking. 18/21 Gallery, Norwich
2011 Inspirations, Jarrold at St James, Norwich
2012 Norfolk Contemporary Art Society Biennial Exhibition, The Forum, Norwich.
2013 Less is More. Shared Exhibition, The Forum, Norwich.
2014 Discreet Spaces. Joint Exhibition with Bob Catchpole, Mandell’s Gallery, Norwich

2016 Drawing, Light and Colour – A Miscellany: The Cut.
2016 Cley 16 – In Norfolk Now.

2017 Four Makers, The Crypt Gallery, Norwich School.
2017 Spring Exhibition, Mandell’s Gallery. Norwich.
2017 Seeing Through Drawing, Mandell’s Gallery, Norwich.
2017 Summer Sculpture Show, Hugh Pilkington Gallery, Norfolk
2018 Winter Exhibition, Mandell’s Gallery, Norwich.

2019 “Derek Morris” Mandell’s Gallery, Norwich

Works in many Public and Private collections.

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We're grateful to Art Council England for funding this project.