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Malcolm Morley, <em>Rules of Engagement</em>, 2011, Sperone  Westerwater Gallery
Malcolm Morley, Rules of Engagement, 2011, Sperone Westerwater Gallery

Malcolm Morley:

RULES OF ENGAGEMENT
by Walter Robinson


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The brilliant British-born New York pop realist Malcolm Morley (b. 1931), back in the studio after something of a dramatic health scare, presents a dozen new paintings of World War II aerial combat. Dynamic and sophisticated in color, the new works are spectacular scenes of soaring dogfights, Spitfires and Messerschmitts outlined against a bright blue sky.

A group of portraits of fighting aces are based on illustrations from Morley’s youth, when he would watch the soaring aircraft above a field near his home, an experience of “bliss.” Two of the new paintings are self-portraits that place “Major Morley” in a World War I Sopwith Camel.

Close observation of the dogfight depicted in Rules of Engagement (2011) reveals a small brush attached to the surface, right in the muzzle blast of the plane’s guns. “I wanted to represent ‘Make art, not war’,” Morley said.

The Paris-based art critic Brooks Adams wrote the essay in the accompanying catalogue.

“Malcolm Morley: Rules of Engagement,” Mar. 31-Apr. 30, 2011, at Sperone Westwater, 257 Bowery, New York, N.Y. 10002.


Malcolm Morley at Sperone Westwater, New York, Mar. 31, 2011
Malcolm Morley at Sperone Westwater, New York, Mar. 31, 2011

Lida Morley, Malcolm’s wife, with Morley’s <em>Italian Fighter Pilot (Ace)</em>, 2010, at Sperone Westwater
Lida Morley, Malcolm’s wife, with Morley’s Italian Fighter Pilot (Ace), 2010, at Sperone Westwater

Christopher French, whose painting show opens this week at Marsha Mateyka Gallery in Washington, D.C. (see christopherfrenchstudio.com), and Terrie Sultan, his wife, director of the Parrish Art Museum in Southampton, N.Y.
Christopher French, whose painting show opens this week at Marsha Mateyka Gallery in Washington, D.C. (see christopherfrenchstudio.com), and Terrie Sultan, his wife, director of the Parrish Art Museum in Southampton, N.Y.

“Malcolm Morley: Rules of Engagement,” installation view of <em>Rat Tat Tat</em> (2001) from the mezzanine at Sperone Westwater Gallery, New York
“Malcolm Morley: Rules of Engagement,” installation view of Rat Tat Tat (2001) from the mezzanine at Sperone Westwater Gallery, New York

WALTER ROBINSON is editor of Artnet Magazine.

 



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