Bill Morton “Turbulence,” 1994
plant dyes & mordants on silk, 30.5 x 125 cm
Photo: Dave Brown, LCR Photo Services
Bill Morton’s “Turbulence” is one of a series of hanging dyed works produced in the early 1990’s when I was his student. In this work, Morton’s mastery of complex technique and colour are manifest as a flurry of intuitive brushwork and crisp, geometric katazome (stencil) motifs. Layer upon layer of plant colour and specialized pigments create a geological palimpsest on silk only two millimetres thick. Pattern escapes the selvedges of the cloth implying a much larger expanse. One of the many reasons I am drawn to Morton’s work, is that there is an almost textual quality to the marks embedded in his textiles – as though they could be decoded if one simply turns one’s head this way or that. Ultimately the evanescent pleasure of almost being able to read Morton’s vocabulary of naturalistic motifs and gestural marks is enough and we are drawn into deeper contemplation.