|Malcolm Morley: ADAA Art Show
Sperone Westwater, Booth B7
21 February 2007
Sperone Westwater is pleased to announce that we will feature a one-man exhibition of works by Malcolm Morley at this years ADAA Art Show. On view will be new work by the artist, including two watercolors and three paintings. Two of the paintings, including Goalie, are inspired by photojournalism of the contemporary sports world. Here, Morley emphasizes the identification of the athlete as mythic hero, creating a kind of contemporary American mythology in paint; upon closer examination, however, these dynamic images of movement and action break down into mosaics of small, beautifully incandescent abstract paintings, where foreground and background co-exist on the same plane.
Tankerton Bay (2007) reflects Morleys continued interest in making paintings from imagery he himself has generated in watercolor. Here the artist revisits his more recognizable motifs of boats, kites, and ocean scenes, a dreamscape culled from his own imagination and executed first in watercolor. This work also features paper and linen attachments, demonstrating Morleys ongoing examination of the relationship between painting and object, a practice that has manifested itself in several bodies of work throughout the artists career.
Morley, who achieved widespread recognition in the 1960s for his photo-based paintings, defines his purpose as a preoccupation with the act of painting and the sensation of transforming closely observed images to canvas. Therefore, regardless of the apparent subject matter of each canvas, the real subject of a Morley painting is painting itself. The artist did not paint these recent sports paintings out of love of the game; in fact, Morley remains fairly independent from and disinterested in the world of sport. Rather it is the act of picture making and representation that engages him and draws him to a wide range of visual material.
As the artist stated recently, "It is much more difficult to make an abstract painting that is real than an abstract painting that is abstract." Morley depicts details: each calibrated digital image as a whole is fragmented into a grid of small squares or "cells" as the artist calls them, from which Morley paints one discrete component at a time, turning the canvas upside down and sideways so that the abstract shape and color tonality of each part is addressed. His technique, while extremely ordered and focused on the particular, yields incredibly rich painterly passages and compositions that excite and intrigue through their color, mood and dynamic rhythm.
Born in London in 1931, Morley studied at the Camberwell School of Arts and Crafts and the Royal College of Art. Since his first exhibition in New York in 1957, Morley has had numerous exhibitions in Europe and North America and has participated in many international exhibitions, including Documenta 5 and 6. Following his first retrospective in 1983 organized by the Whitechapel Art Gallery, Morley was the first artist awarded the Turner Prize for British artists. Recent presentations of his work include a survey of his watercolors at the Tate Gallery, Liverpool (1991), a one-man show at the Musée national d'art moderne Centre Georges Pompidou, Paris (1993), an exhibition organized by Fundación "La Caixa," Madrid, which traveled to the Astrup Fearnley Museet for Moderne Kunst, Oslo (1995-96), and a retrospective at The Hayward Gallery, London (2001). In 2006, Morleys work was shown in a major retrospective entitled The Art of Painting,curated by Bonnie Clearwater at The Museum of Contemporary Art, North Miami. Upcoming museum shows include The Painting of Modern Life at the Hayward Gallery and the Turner Prize retrospective at Tate Britain. Morleys work can be found in museum collections worldwide.