Malcolm Morley

British (1931–2018)

About the artist:

Malcolm Morley (born June 7, 1931) was a British artist who lived primarily in the United States. He was best known as a photorealist. Malcolm Morley was born in London in 1931. His childhood memories of the Blitz would continue to shape his repertoire of motifs: the bombed city, the Royal Navy, a model airplane he played with. After an adolescence spent in the bleak post-war years, during which Morley even had a brief stint in prison for theft, he attended the Camberwell School of Arts and Crafts in 1952-53 and the Royal College of Art from 1954 until 1957. Drawn to Abstract Expressionism, Malcolm Morley finally left London for New York in 1958. In 1958, a year after leaving the Royal College, Morley moved to New York City, where he saw exhibitions of the work of Jackson Pollock and Balthus, both of whose treatment of their paintings' surfaces influenced him greatly. He considers Cézanne the quintessential sensationalist, and has acknowledged that artist's deep influence on his own work. When Morley moved to New York he also met Barnett Newman, and became influenced by him. He painted a number of works at this time made up of only horizontal black and white bands. He also met Andy Warhol and Roy Lichtenstein and, influenced in part by them, changed to a photorealist style (Morley prefers the phrase super realist). He often used a grid to transfer photographics images (often of ships) from a variety of sources (travel brochures, calendars, old paintings) to canvas as accurately as possible, and became one of the most noted photorealists. In the 1970s, Morley's work began to be more expressionist, and he began to incorporate collage into his work. Many of his paintings from the mid-70s, such as Train Wreck (1975), depict "catastrophes". Later in the decade, he began to use his own earlier drawings and watercolours as the subject for his paintings. In 1984, Morley won the inaugural Turner Prize. In the 1990s he returned again to a more precise photorealist style, often reproducing images from model aeroplane kits on large canvases. His work often draws upon various sources in a process of cross-fertilization. For example, his painting The Day of the Locust (1977) draws its title from the novel The Day of the Locust, by Nathanael West. One scene in the painting is drawn from the opening scene of the novel, and other scenes are drawn from the 1954 film Suddenly and the 1925 Sergei Eisenstein film Battleship Potemkin.[1] His most significant student is his ex-wife, Fran Bull. Malcolm Morley is represented by Sperone Westwater, New York and Xavier Hufkens, Brussels. Dissatisfied with his pictures, at that time light monochrome relief surfaces articulated in the horizontal, Morley now sought representational motifs. At first working with a reduced palette from newspaper photos of battleships, Malcolm Morley developed a Photorealist style in 1964, which entailed accurately transferring colour photos as raster elements to canvas. Morley's practice of dissolving a motif into non-representational raster surfaces, which he would sometimes paint on upside-down canvases, continued to link him with his abstract beginnings. Morley developed this unusual act of pictorial creation into Performances, in which the occasionally defective end product, the representational image, was of secondary significance. Despite his individuality, Morley is regarded as a precursor of Photorealism, for which he coined the term Superrealism. Malcolm Morley's motifs at the time were both contemporary scenes, which placed him close to Pop art, and copies of Old Master paintings. In the early 1970s gestural touches began to break into Morley's pictures and his motifs increasingly attested to violence and destruction (for instance "Train Wreck", 1975). While staying in Florida, Morley developed a new technique: he now executed his paintings after watercolors he did as preliminaries. His subjects were inspired by Greek mythology and Mediterranean scenery encountered on his extensive travels. By the early 1980s Malcolm Morley was so well established as a leading Neo-Expressionist that he was the first winner of the prestigious Turner Prize in London (in 1984). Towards the close of the 1980s, Morley returned to his early motif repertoire of ships and planes, which now figured in large-scale installations that were a combination of paintings and mobiles. Morley was now painting from models observed through a camera obscura system. He now lives in Brookhaven Hamlet, Long Island in a former church that serves as his home/studio, which he has shared with his wife Lida Morley since 1986. By the mid-1990s, however, he again reverted to more exact rendering, now using model planes from sets, which he represented in two dimensions but with an abstract tendency. In recent years Malcolm Morley has painted in a figurative style accompanied by a reticently gestural approach, translating photographic images into spatially complex paintings. Morley has remained in America, his adopted country. Morely passed away June 2, 2018.

Malcolm Morley

British (1931–2018)

(18 works)

About the artist:

Malcolm Morley (born June 7, 1931) was a British artist who lived primarily in the United States. He was best known as a photorealist. Malcolm Morley was born in London in 1931. His childhood memories of the Blitz would continue to shape his

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