In the Name of the Fathers at the House of St. Barnabas
Patrick Morgan’s show at the House of St. Barnabas is an interesting and varied collection. It covers an impressive range of mediums, going beyond his notable Indian ink and watercolour illustrations and delving into sculpture and painting, among other efforts in creativity. He pulls them all off with surprisingly consistent quality.
The Indian ink and watercolour illustrations are clearly Patrick Morgan’s central output. They feature many figure studies and portraits that are executed with deftness and precision, with a recurrent running-ink motif tying them all together in an oddly jarring fashion. Spilling ink would usually be a mistake or the ruin of an illustration, but here it is carefully cultivated. Many of the people appear to be crying or bleeding, while others are tackled with more subtlety. The illustration of the many-handed Jean Cocteau features ink dripping from a pen onto a book, and his suit is leaking. The effect is employed in a fashion that lends otherwise skilled but fairly run-of-the-mill pieces a vaguely unsettling aspect with the suggestion that something is not quite right.
While many of the works have a forlorn quality to them, there are bursts of playfulness and abstraction, too: there are illustrations of ballerinas dancing amusingly in large African masks, comically offsetting the associations of grace and balance. Alongside these, there is a series of impressions of bow ties in terracotta and stoneware that contrast nicely with the rest of the works just by feeling slightly out of place and unexplained. There is also a series of good paintings featuring various women, in which he has captured texture very well.
In the Name of the Fathers is a memorable and diverse exhibition; Patrick Morgan demonstrates an aptitude in many artistic forms. It’s worth taking a couple of full trips around the entire collection because it’s easy to miss some works when taking in others. There’s certainly a good amount of high quality and interesting content on display.
Photos: Luna Ingrassia
In the Name of the Fathers is at the House of St. Barnabas until 5th August 2013. For further information visit the gallery’s website here.