In Aircraft on a Yellow Plane (2014), Morley begins to let go of the grid that has traditionally served as his guide. This lyrical painting takes a field of boldly colored fighter planes as its subject matter. Arranged wing-to-wing in loose formation, they appear more playroom fantasy than military drill. Although the underpainted grid remains visible in some areas of the canvas, the artist is no longer beholden to it and, at its edges, the painting begins to move from representation toward abstraction.
The newest works on view push this experimentation even further. Here, vintage paper model sets serve as Morley’s source material. Inspired by the Comte de Lautreamont’s famous image of the “chance meeting on a dissection table of a sewing machine and an umbrella” in Les Chants de Maldoror, the artist allows one element to suggest the next. In Dakota (2015), for instance, Morley began with a DC-3 plane, which brought to mind the image of a lighthouse. The result is an amalgamation of diverse historical and stylistic components that, taken together, engage in a spirited and unexpected dialogue. Over the course of his distinguished career, Morley has defied stylistic characterization, moving by turns through so-called abstract, realist, neo-romantic, and neo-expressionist painterly modes, while being attentive to his biographical experiences. In these latest powerful, dynamic, and playful paintings, Morley continues to advance a sensibility that is entirely his own.
Born in London in 1931, Malcolm Morley has lived in and around New York City since 1958. Morley studied at the Camberwell College of Arts and the Royal College of Art. Since his first New York show in 1964, he has had numerous exhibitions in Europe and North America including retrospectives at the Whitechapel Art Gallery (1983); the Musée national d’art moderne, Centre Georges Pompidou, Paris (1993); Fundación La Caixa, Madrid, which travelled to the Astrup Fearnley Museet, Oslo (1995-96); the Hayward Gallery, London (2001); and the Museum of Contemporary Art, North Miami (2006). Recent exhibitions include “Malcolm Morley in a Nutshell: The Fine Art of Painting 1954-2012” at the Yale School of Art (2012), “Malcolm Morley: Painting, Paper, Process” at the Parrish Art Museum (2012-13), and an exhibition at the Ashmolean Museum, Oxford, organized with the Hall Art Foundation (2013-14). In addition to receiving the inaugural Turner Prize in 1984, Morley was awarded the Painting Award from the Skowhegan School of Painting and Sculpture in 1992 and the Francis J. Greenburger Award in 2015. His work can be found in museum collections worldwide.
An opening reception for the artist will be held on Thursday 16 April from 6-8pm. A catalogue with a text by Sir Norman Rosenthal will be published on the occasion of this exhibition. For more information, please contact:
Allyson Shea firstname.lastname@example.org +1 212 999 7337
Justin Conner, Third Eye email@example.com +1 646 593 8713