Malcolm Morley at the Ashmolean: Paintings and Drawings from the Hall Collection
Ashmolean Museum, Oxford
8 October 2013 to 30 March 2014
The Hall Art Foundation and the Ashmolean Museum in Oxford, England have announced a new partnership to present a series of exhibitions of contemporary and post-war art drawn from the collections of the Hall Art Foundation and Andrew and Christine Hall.
It is intended that the Hall Art Foundation’s collaboration with the museum will eventually develop into a longer-term relationship, when a new gallery devoted to the display of contemporary art is created at the Ashmolean.
The collaboration will begin with an exhibition of works by leading British-born artist, Malcolm Morley, curated by Sir Norman Rosenthal. Malcolm Morley at the Ashmolean: Paintings and Drawings from the Hall Collection will be on view from 8 October 2013 through 30 March 2014.
Malcolm Morley was born in London in 1931, and is now a US citizen, having lived in and around New York City since 1958. He is acknowledged as one of the founders of hyper-realism, which was developed as a counterpoint to pop-art back in the 1960s, while also as an artist who deliberately broke away from the stylistic discoveries that brought him this initial fame. Over the past fifty years, Morley has continued to progress towards a highly colourful, continuously evolving, individual and expressive style of painting. His works often depict man-made disasters such as car and motorbike crashes that act as J.G. Ballard-like visual metaphors. His paintings of ships, airplanes and the like may appear to portray childhood dreams – but in fact reflect his traumatic boyhood experience of the Battle of Britain. These imaginary visions are the sort that led him to take up painting as a young, petty offender in London back in the 1950s. In 1955, Morley was able to attend the Royal College of Art, where he was a contemporary of both Frank Auerbach and Peter Blake. As idiosyncratically erudite as J.M.W. Turner was in his own time, Morley became the first ever winner of Tate's now famous Turner Prize in 1984.
Malcolm Morley at the Ashmolean includes approximately thirty paintings and drawings dating from 1964 to the present. The exhibition will be on prominent view in a central gallery of the museum and will be the first of a series of exhibitions – allowing the Ashmolean, the world's oldest encyclopaedic museum, to present the art of our time.
Director of the Ashmolean, Professor Christopher Brown said: “I am profoundly grateful to Andrew and Christine Hall for the programme of loans from the Hall Art Foundation which will allow the Ashmolean to bring important contemporary and post-war art to new audiences and marks an exciting phase in the museum's development.”
Sir Norman Rosenthal said: “It is so exciting and appropriate to commence a programme of contemporary art exhibitions at the Ashmolean Museum with a show of paintings by Malcolm Morley, who celebrates his eighty-second birthday this year.”
Malcolm Morley studied at the Camberwell School of Arts and Crafts and the Royal College of Art. Since his first show in New York in 1964, he has had numerous exhibitions in Europe and North America and has participated in many international surveys, including Documenta 5 (1977) and 6 (1977). In 1981, Morley’s work was included in the Royal Academy’s pivotal group exhibition, A New Spirit in Painting. His first retrospective was organized in 1983 by the Whitechapel Art Gallery, which travelled to the Museum of Contemporary Art in Chicago and the Brooklyn Museum in New York. In 1984, Morley was awarded the first-ever Turner Prize for British Artists. Subsequent presentations of his work include a watercolour show at the Tate Gallery, Liverpool (1991), a one-man show at the Musée national d’art modern - Centre Georges Pompidou, Paris (1993), an exhibition organised by Fundación La Caixa, Madrid, which travelled to the Astrup Fearnley Museet, Oslo (1995-96), and a retrospective at the Hayward Gallery, London (2001). In 2006, his work was shown in a survey, The Art of Painting at The Museum of Contemporary Art, North Miami. In 2012, the Yale School of Art in New Haven, Connecticut, presented Malcolm Morley in a Nutshell: The Fine Art of Painting 1954-2012. Most recently, an exhibition focused on the seminal role of paper in Morley’s art-making process was on view at the new Parrish Art Museum in Long Island (2012 – 2013). His work can be found in museum collections worldwide.
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