I Even Got Scared Once or Twice is Ivo Morrison’s first solo exhibition in the UK. Born in 1990, Morrison is a self-taught artist. Although normally based in London, he painted the work for this show in Texas. Working predominately in ink, his primary ambition is to tell stories in his pictures. The lack of narrative in contemporary painting both confuses and upsets Morrison, and is consequently an issue he strives to address throughout his work.
This exhibition is the artist’s most autobiographical to date. It focuses on the theme of loneliness, or more explicitly how hiding in one’s imagination is the only way to escape the mundane despair of modern existence.
The idea for this body of work was born one Tuesday in March, when Morrison was wandering about Westfield shopping centre. He noticed a small twelve-year-old girl sat all alone. Every thirty seconds, she would completely transform from a bored, shy creature into the embodiment of joyous confidence. Raising her phone, she would then take a selfie before quickly turning back into the quiet, timid figure. Morrison found this scene captivating.
Nowadays, we exist in a world where little girls are not allowed to be solitary, even when they are technically alone. We must all cultivate and project a very particular version of ourselves to the wider world: those personas that we share are never meant to be bored, lonely or depressed.
Morrison explores the young girl’s feelings of isolation and anxiety, while also analysing his own relationship with solitude. This relationship is a conflicted one; while he perceives such loneliness as a great tragedy, he must himself lead a rather separate existence in order to paint pictures. In this sense, the exhibition also aims to find some hope in isolation.