Malcolm Morley

Pace Prints | East 57th Street

Malcolm Morley’s works could be regarded as a skewed contemporary development of Maurice Denis’ famous assertion that “a painting—before being a war horse, a nude woman, or some anecdote—is essentially a plane surface covered with colors assembled in a certain order.” While Morley has vehemently disavowed Greenbergian formalism, the considerable power of his work inheres in the tension between his usually mundane and even hackneyed representational imagery and a quintessential Modernist idea of the picture-plane: Cézanne’s desire for the creation of three-dimensional perceptual experience on a two-dimensional plane. Paradoxically, Morley generally works from two-dimensional models, as in his prototypical super-realist works of the ’60s in which he relies on trivial painted imagery for sources. (“Superrealism” was Morley’s term; he always disdained “Photorealism,” the movement of which he

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