James Morrison RSA DUniv died in 2020 as the premier contemporary landscape painter in Scotland. A member of the RSA, widely represented in major public and private collections in Britain and throughout the world, his work has become synonymous with the Scottish landscape. This is recognised by the recent acquisition of a major work (discussed in the book) by the National Galleries of Scotland. His painting moves between Classical and Romantic allusions, between the fertile plains of the East and the spare, stark geology of the West, between the trees and hedgerows of Angus and the ice fields of the Canadian High Arctic, all under a shifting array of soaring skies. The paintings revel in space and scale. Heedless, even contemptuous of human concerns, they flirt with allegorical meaning only to return to a sense of place and an insistence on the actuality of experience. These large, imposing landscapes are principally painted outside. They evoke both the objective truth born of physical presence and the subjectivity of interior response.
This book considers the nuances of the works across more than 60 years of painting experience and a range of painted locations, Morrison’s engagement with the world and his often uneasy position within it are examined through the exploration of a hundred paintings.