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Malcolm Morley: Talking About Seeing

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IF THERE IS A METAPHYSIC behind Malcolm Morley’s painting technique, it is eroticism—the eroticism of seeing. Although still best known for the cool precision of his travel-poster- and photograph-derived paintings done between 1965 and 1969, his most recent work displays an unabashed painterliness and directness that express a wish, like Monet’s, to have been born blind and then suddenly to receive sight. Hiking through art history and autobiography, stopping wherever he is surprised—Van Gogh, Delacroix, a dream about his analyst, the Tampa, Florida, Zoo—Morley is relentless in his quest for visual diversity and plasticity. Densely painted surfaces steam with a variety of strokes and marks that express the temperament of a born-again painter. Instead of photographs, the models for the paintings are now drawings done directly from nature, or tableaux set up with toy soldiers, model

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