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Malcolm Morley

Malcolm Morley

*  1931 London

Born in London in 1931, the painter Malcolm Morley emigrated to the US in 1958, where he still lives and works. His youth was marred by the upheavals of the Second World War and a three-year stint in prison - lasting impressions that have determined the artist's repertory of motifs. In 1952-53 Malcolm Morley attended the Camberwell School of Art in London and then from 1954 to 1957 the Royal College of Art. Inspired by an exhibition of contemporary American art he saw at the Tate Gallery in 1956, Morley turned to Abstract Expressionism.
From 1958 Malcolm Morley lived in New York. There he came into contact with such greats as Barnett Newman, Andy Warhol and Roy Lichtenstein. The first paintings Malcolm Morley produced there were articulated by stripes in the horizontal. It was not long, however, before Morley again addressed representational motifs because he was not satisfied with abstract painting. Morley began to produce paintings in a reduced palette from newspaper photos of battleships, aircraft and sports scenes that were faithful to the last detail; from about 1964 he worked on refining his photorealist style by transferring the photographic images he had selected to canvas as accurately as possible raster field for raster field. Acclaimed as a major exponent of Photorealism, Morley himself prefers to call his style Superrealism, the term he coined for it.
In the 1980s Malcolm Morley abandoned Superrealism for a Neo-Expressionist style: his handling became looser and more casual although he retained his canon of motifs.
In 1984 Malcolm Morley became the first recipient of the Turner Prize, just after it had been established by a subgroup of the Friends of the Tate Gallery.