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Platform Alumni Artist Focus – George Morl

30th Apr 2019

George Morl studied his BA and MA at University for the Creative Arts. He was selected for Platform 2016 by Turner Contemporary in Margate.

“Having been a patient at a children’s hospital and recipient of psychotherapy, my practice is concerned with notions of affection, documenting how people reach human contact and emotional reverence.

Precious Boys, exploring post-industry and loneliness in relationship to male suicide, was exhibited at Turner Contemporary. Liaising with fellow artists and gallery curators was for me the most intriguing part of the Platform process. Being from Basildon, a new-town blighted by unemployment, and from a working class background motivated me to attend art school and seek opportunities in the South East. Platform significantly instilled confidence and encouraged me to generate further conversations.

“During the Platform show, having been awarded a scholarship for researching links between poverty and male body image disorders, I submitted a portfolio to the curators at Southend Museums and was offered a solo exhibition. This was a natural transition given that the subject of my practice fitted within the context of South Essex. I proposed a curatorial project, examining how body image was entwined with masculine performance, investigating how societal concepts of masculinity have manifested. This involved juxtaposing representations of the male body in religion, monarch and military portraits, and academic studies in conversation with my own. The premise followed how each representation constructs the male image to exert power, in contrast to my own work offering portrayals of today’s suffering men who adapt their bodies to feel validated or to reach affection.

“This opportunity became beneficial for both of us, as it allowed me to become aware of what direction I wanted my practice to take, how my work situates itself within historical contexts and contemporary discussions, as well as provided the gallery with a method for them to use for future exhibitions integrating their collection and establishing an ‘identity’. This process I later discussed at the Graduate Mobility seminar at Tate Modern for CVAN South East.

“Following my exhibition I had work acquired by museums/galleries, entering collections where it is relevant to community’s social history. And since taking a hiatus to travel to other cultural areas for independent research trips in order to develop additional curatorial projects, I am currently engaging with other museums about delivering an exhibition about the representation of pride in history and its relationship to male body image disorders.”

Visit George Morl’s website for more information.

Image: Precious Boys#2, George Morl, 2019.

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