George Morton–Clark: The Devil’s Cabinet at Imitate Modern
George Morton–Clark has a fine facility for painting, and is clearly prolific, as most of this exhibition is dated from this year, and it’s only February. The smell of drying paint adds to the authentic sense of paintings quickly executed. Big and bold, close-ups of faces, bleary eyed or scribbled over, reveal something of inner anxiety.
Titles such as Red Wine Hangover, Laughable Violence and Blunt Razor point the direction, and further text directly on the wall adds more commentary by the artist about his work and the state of the world. It’s strangely difficult to find anything at all else to say about these paintings that the artist hasn’t already presented. There are not really further layers of interpretation or subtlety. They’re certainly visually engaging, but don’t go quite as deep as the grandiose claims of revealing some threshold between order and evil. Potentially powerful imagery such as inverse crucifixes oddly lack impact.
The artist states he paints from his subconscious, but he goes no further in explaining what he might mean by that – don’t most artists aim to do that? There’s no mention of Morton-Clark having been to art school, and overall a sense that he may not have been through that process of exposing his ideas to debate among other artists, where such notions about manifesting the unconscious are grappled with and deepened.
Mixing abstract elements with realistic areas of paintings is evocative and effective, especially in portraits. These paintings are revealing, but not of everything claimed about them.
George Morton–Clark: The Devil’s Cabinet is at Imitate Modern from 22nd February until 22nd March 2014. For further information visit the gallery’s website here.