Ree Morton was an American Conceptual artist, who mostly created installation and performance pieces. Her main body of work was made between 1968 and her death in 1977, when her practice was cut tragically short by a fatal car crash. She came late to her career as an artist, after having three children, claiming:
My career probably began at the age of three, when I took up watching ant hills and protecting lady bugs. This caused a long interruption in my artistic progress, because my family read this as an interest in science and directed me to nursing.
Morton's work tackled enormous topics subtly - encompassing everything from Feminism to Minimalism and Conceptual Art - while also incorporating tropes that were less fashionable with her contemporaries, such as references to historical art as well as decorative and topographical elements.
Whilst learning more about her work we were particularly taken when we came across the book The Mating Habits of Lines: Sketchbooks and Notebooks of Ree Morton. It was produced by the Robert Hull Fleming Museum at the University of Vermont in 2000 on the occasion of their show of Morton's drawings and contains delightfully intimate drawings and notes on her thought process.
The book includes a list of her likes (Byzantine murals, Sumerian idols) and dislikes (colour relationships, liars) and outlines of plans for installations and sketches, including a sketch titled 'Silly Stellas', referencing her contemporary, Frank Stella.
We've spent hours pouring over them. Morton's work is long overdue the recognition it deserves and we're particularly excited to see that she has her first American solo museum exhibition in 35 years happening at the Institute of Contemporary Art, University of Pennsylvania in 2018. For now we'll have to make do with this book and thoroughly recommend you take a look too (if you can get your hands on a copy).