Lily (Brighton) on the Philosophy of Her Art

Lily Morgan (Brighton) writes on how zenism enhances her creative powers


For a long time, my work has been inspired by the Japanese philosophy of aesthetics: Wabi-sabi teaches us that imperfections, impermanence, and incompletion are the very essence of beauty. In a society so obsessed with perfection, keeping this in mind is a way of escaping the everyday stress and anxieties of life.

Zenism is also an increasingly fundamental part of both the research for and practice of my work. I look for the crucial moments of calm in which distinctive and final movements of the body create definitive lines.

I then use these in the formation of my sculptures. This process of distilling the distance from the mind, to line, to sculptural form encapsulates instants of contemplation. I want my viewers to meditate on the motion captured in the line, the art in the present moment.

Bringing this sort of philosophical thinking into art is important. The art world is constantly trying to challenge and outsmart the viewer, but the gallery should also be a space for contemplation, a place for respite and peace from the stressful and complicated lives we lead outside of these spaces.

These philosophies call for tangible and responsive materials. This is becoming more challenging in the digital age. What happens to the way we interact with art when it’s not right there in front of us, within the same air we breathe?

Would Rothko’s slabs of rich color or Malevich’s black square have had the same deep impact on their viewers had they only been seen on a screen?

As a kind of rebellion against this ever more virtual world, I often work with traditionally handcrafted materials like ceramics and paper. I’m asking my viewers to interact directly and personally with its surface and form.

Art has always been imbued with philosophy. As the body positivity and women’s rights movements gain even more momentum, I think it’s important the art world follow suit. I believe in empowering through peace and positivity, even in the gallery.


Lily Morgan, Brighton

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Follow Lily on Instagram for more of her work: @lily_morgan_art

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