The physicality radiating from Victoria Morton's luscious, almost hallucinogenic surfaces is inescapable—from precise applications of paint in her forthright smaller works, to bruised, evaporated zones of overlapping colour in her large canvases—her stern examination of material and commitment to process is unwavering.
Gestural, animated drawings offer indications of form, only to be consumed by the drip and soak of pigment and turpentine—a corporeal tension between opposing methods of application that transmit the palpable psychological situation driving her performative painting. Unconcerned with painterly cues of perspective and traditional figuration, Morton allows her actions to circulate, assemblages of colour and line tracing shape and space, building surfaces that vibrate with narrative potential and direct energy. Distilled and composed, the canvases are designed to unfold over time, expanding the space and structure of the painting into the mind of the viewer.
In her latest exhibition Treat Fever with Fever at The Modern Institute's Osborne Street gallery space, we encounter new paintings that expand upon Morton's enduring investigations of nature, biology, desire, and loss, alongside meditations on musical composition, deep colour perception and memory—stimuli that enable her to articulate and understand the complex personal narratives of lived experience. Depicting the space and experiences of the body in a non-singular manner.
Living and working between Italy and Scotland, Morton's practice unifies the distinct influences of these two locations. Many of these works that began in Morton's Italian studio emit the intensity of summer, yet—displaced, reworked and combined over a Glaswegian winter—Morton creates a tangible temporal shift that permits space for reflection and alters the conditions of realism. Indeed, although bound to the context of their production, Morton's visual language allows her to convey memory of place and time as it truly is: a non-linear accumulation of imagery and forms that fragment and morph over time—akin to the layering and reworking of paint on canvas.
Morton's paintings pulse with opposing physical sensation, from the liberated movement of The Opening Sex (2019) and The Daughter Cell (2018) to the blue hues and nebulous forms of Place of no Sun (2019) and Broken Waveform (2019) that evoke a more contemplative emotive response. It is this palpable bodily presence within Morton's painting that claims space for the externalising process of her practice—her ability to shed light on the internal psychology of self—that which over time, becomes articulated forms.
Victoria Morton (b. 1971, Glasgow) lives and works in Glasgow and Fossombrone, Italy. Morton studied at the The Glasgow School of Art, graduating with a BA (Hons) in Painting in 1993, and with an MFA in 1995.
Morton exhibits internationally, recent solo exhibitions include: My Mother Was A Reeler, Etro, London (2016); Sadie Coles HQ, London (2016); The Modern Institute, Aird's Lane, Glasgow (2014); Mouth Wave, Rat Hole Gallery, Tokyo (2014); Il Capricorno, Venice (2012); Tapestry (RADIO ON), Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum, Boston (2012); Her Guitars, The Modern Institute, Osborne Street, Glasgow (2011); Inverleith House, Royal Botanic Garden Edinburgh (2010); Sun By Ear with Katy Dove, Tramway, Glasgow (2007); and The Fruitmarket Gallery, Edinburgh (2002).
Selected group exhibitions include: GENERATION: 25 Years of Contemporary Art in Scotland at Scottish National Gallery of Modern Art, Edinburgh (2014); Studio 58: Women Artists in Glasgow Since WWII, Mackintosh Museum, Glasgow School of Art, Glasgow (2012); Painting Not Painting at Tate St. Ives, Cornwall (2003), S.M.A.K., Ghent (2001) and Edge of the Real, The Whitechapel Gallery, London (2004).
In October 2017, The Perse School Cambridge installed Morton's completed tapestry, which was gun tufted over 8 and a half months based on one of her paintings. In 2018 she undertook a short residency at Hospitalfield, Arbroath, which further developed her musical interests as part of her wider practice. Morton is currently working with Hospitalfield on a new textile commission for Hospitalfields' new accommodation building as part of their Future Plan capital development.
Press release courtesy The Modern Institute.
In comparison to Victoria Morton's past exhibitions (her 2010 solo show at Inverleith House in Edinburgh, for example), the paintings in this presentation, Treat Fever with Fever, felt less schizophrenic, less overtly agitated by implicit figuration. They were also unaccompanied by the installation elements and photography often associated with...
The first of two final paintings—taking the total to 90 since the Hamilton Bequest began in 1927—has been newly unveiled at Kelvingrove. Glasgow artist Victoria Morton's Soliton will hang at the gallery's south east stairs next to Salvador Dali's Christ of St John of the Cross.