‘NICE PAINTINGS’ – ANTHONY MORTON, 31 MAY – 30 JUN 2017
Anthony Morton’s paintings are the result of experimental, unpredictable and sometimes hard-won negotiations with his work. Striving for a genuine, unpretentious practice devoid of preconceived outcomes, Morton surrenders to the painting process, allowing it to determine the destination of his work. His diverse range of layering and re-working of the canvas results in highly tactile and seductive surfaces that record exploration and immediacy: paint is plastered, seeped, washed and brushed on until the painting is finished. Ultimately he attempts to create visually arresting paintings; exploring, challenging and testing the threshold of what can be seen.
Morton draws inspiration from art history, the natural world and film, as well as the music of Moondog, which is often heard echoing down the stairs to his studio. Morton introduces and repeats imagery appropriated and abstracted from these various sources.
The horizon is a recurring element in Morton’s work. Horizons appear over the ocean and behind veils. Morton writes, “horizons are the point where what can and cannot be seen meet. The decision to use the beach as a source of reference imagery came as a way to start painting, using a subject both predictable and accessible to be surprised by. Later I became fascinated with how it read as equally cliché as it was romantic, appearing as ideological as painting itself. It seemed to me to be the most accessible subject, which offered me the space to be as experimental as I wanted within it, with the possibility that anything could happen. I wanted to bring the avant-garde to the fore, rather than it being the byproduct of trying to do something else. I was inspired by how strange and taboo this was to grapple with, which seemed in line with my inclination to attempt to make radical paintings.”
The pictures are set in a post-sense sensibility; timeless, stark and omni-referential. A vacuum enters the space that heightens the senses; the real, the historical and exploration echo through a blur of representation and abstraction. Morton’s work in nice paintings is closely attached to its artistic process, pursuing a point beyond linear communication where looking comes to the fore, in this way the work doesn’t linger in the content. It unbiasedly refers to what has informed it to negotiate a picture about pictures, thus becoming its own content.