When she was approached by Wakefield and Scarry, some two years ago, to create a work for the exhibition, Morris started thinking about the remoteness of the city—the way its visitors and residents depend on the trains, and the public space that trains create and occupy.
The show’s organizers helped Morris reach an agreement with the Swiss rail company that services the region, Montreux–Oberland Bernois, allowing her to transform the train’s exterior for a four-year stint in the Alps. Given the specs of the locomotive, Morris and her team spent six months fine tuning the composition; she estimates that six or seven of her paintings went into the final work. Once finalized, the renderings were sent to a Swiss company that printed colored stencils that were applied to the train.
The train was a natural direction for Morris’s work. In both her paintings and her films, she conveys the motion and vitality of the vehicle and its passengers. For her films, Morris has captured footage in train stations, airports, and other transportation hubs in Paris, Washington, D.C., and Beijing. And in her paintings, she builds matrices and fluid grids that seem to pulse with energy. “There’s a sense of movement and anticipation that is very palpable in the films, but also in the paintings,” says Morris.