Malcolm Morley “Tally-ho”

Sperone Westwater

poster for Malcolm Morley “Tally-ho”
[Image: Malcolm Morley "Melee at Agincourt" (2017) Image Robert Vinas Jr., courtesy the artist and Sperone Westwater, New York.]

This event has ended.

“I turned the art world into a family. One of the great things about being an artist is that you can pick your own ancestors.” -Malcolm Morley

Sperone Westwater presents Malcolm Morley: Tally-ho, the sixth solo show devoted to the late London-born artist, widely hailed as among the most pioneering figures of his generation. On the occasion of his 1983 Whitechapel exhibition “Malcolm Morley: Paintings, 1965-82,” Morley was the recipient of the inaugural Turner Prize in 1984. The gallery exhibition will feature recent paintings dating from 2015 through 2018, created before his passing in June at the age of 86.

“Over the past thirty years Morley continued on a path that took him on a searching and distinctive examination of the art of painting,” writes Sir Nicholas Serota in a tribute in the exhibition catalogue. Morley ranged, over the course of his five-decade career, through styles including abstraction, photo-based realism, neo-romanticism, and neo-expressionism. The paintings in the upcoming exhibition, mostly dating from the last three years of his life, principally dwell on medieval knights in armor, painted in bold hues, most of them based on constructed paper models that were among his most favored inspirations.

The stunning, nearly ten-foot-wide Melee at Agincourt (2017) shows two ranks of mounted knights in armor, their striped lances crossed, facing each other against an arresting, bright yellow background. Also in keeping with his lifelong interest in the machinery of war, other works in the show depict fighter planes, the Trojan Horse, and jousting matches. His keen interest in art history is evident in Piazza d’Italia with French Knights (2017), in which two armored figures on horseback stand, seemingly frozen, in a piazza that echoes a trademark composition by Giorgio de Chirico.

Vintage canvases from earlier decades will contextualize the new paintings and demonstrate Morley’s innovative artistic achievements. Cristoforo Colombo (1966) dates from just two years after his first New York exhibition and depicts a massive cruise ship, one of his perennial subjects, which he often painted from postcards. The Ultimate Anxiety (1978), meanwhile, brings a distinctly surrealist twist to a traditional Venetian scene, which is interrupted by a freight train that seems to barrel across the surface of the canvas itself. Synthetic History (1996) introduces his penchant for affixing objects to the surface of his paintings; a foreshortened knight in armor, lying on his back, is pierced with an actual arrow.



from September 12, 2018 to October 27, 2018

Opening Reception on 2018-09-12 from 17:00 to 19:00


Malcolm Morley

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