Friday, July 15, 2011


The winner of studio1.1's 2010 Lottery Show draw, Neal Morley will be showing paintings that circle the line that divides abstraction and landscape. With a focussed interest in the formal aspects of painting, colour, composition, surface texture, the frame, his work shifts easily between modes: alongside a strong element of the abstract, the interest also plays out in a formalised presentation of landscape and still life. Sometimes incorporating found materials which ground the work literally within that landscape, at other times the relationship is more poetic. The landscape and what composes it – the volteface between exterior and interior worlds.

His use of rough wooden panels and rusted metal, materials from a natural world already transformed by an industrialised one, returns them to an environment where contemplation, and dialogue with the viewer, are fostered by a balance as dynamic as it is formally secure. It is perhaps this sophisticated fluctuation between the material and the lyrical that leads Morley to title the show after his winning lottery ticket...

There is no contradiction between the small 'realistic' depictions of his local fields and the larger compositions where the land becomes schematic, any more than a map denies the mountain. The wood and metal elements are formal parts of the composition yet have been made, acted upon by the very intangible elements that make up the landscape of their origin. Rain and wind and natural decay - their patina is accepted not (just) as pure decoration or colour but as fundamental witness to the passing of time and the action of the elements. The real world paints itself and Morley matches it. Finding something is the key - finding the right piece of wood or metal, the right colour, hitting the right note - being true to the landscape as only an intimate can.

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