134 New Bond Street
Following the devastating blast in Beirut, Opera Gallery London will be showing their support by donating part of the proceeds from their new exhibition George Morton-Clark: This Is As Far As I Started to the Paediatric Ward at St. Georges Hospital. Opera Gallery London will be working closely with their Gallery in Beirut which is located near the harbour.
British artist George Morton-Clark presents a playful new body of artworks in his recognisably animated style which adds originality and story to already familiar cartoon characters including Popeye, Bambi, Garfield and Sesame Street’s Big Bird that are reborn with a newfound sense of vitality and meaning. While the works highlight the darker side of today’s society, Morton-Clark’s artworks also draw on the nostalgic and universal connection that we all have to cartoons in a quest to connect to everyday life and celebrating life.
The energy of Morton-Clark’s work exists through their combination of intense colours, spontaneous drawings, and nostalgic cartoon characters. While the characters evoke a collection of emotions and expressions from surprise to fear, we are engulfed in a state of curiosity. Even the chaotic, exaggerated portions of his work are expressed with such a natural frankness that they are transformed into positive elements that inspire vitality and liveliness.
To create the abstract elements that intertwine with the figurative and expressionistic techniques, Morton- Clark uses traditional materials including acrylic, oil and charcoal with more obscure materials such as dyes and food including coffee, tea, and even Lea & Perrins. He utilises the natural, un-primed surface of his canvas as a place to bring to life well-known childhood characters that at first seem safe but are equally haunting. His work embodies both the charm of a painting that is finished and one that is still in progress.
Opera Gallery’s Beirut Director Salwa Chalhoub comments: “ Our city and its heritage was shattered including the cultural and art hub, the business hub, health hub, fitness hub, everything which keeps Lebanon alive. Opera Gallery in Beirut is located a few hundred metres away from the blast close to the harbour. We are heartbroken and torn apart, but we are crossing our fingers for good things to come while picking up the shattered pieces of our city. We are truly so grateful for this initiative because every single penny helps rebuild Beirut and all the facilities which have been torn apart and we need a lot of help. I thank you George and the team at Opera Gallery London for this wonderful humane initiative.”
George Morton-Clark adds: ““The exhibition is a collection of paintings that were started before and after 'lockdown' hence the title 'That's as far as I started'. This year has been very strange and muddled at best, which I wanted to convey in the title. During the time spent painting for the show, it was done at a more relaxed pace than usual. It seemed like time had slowed down for the majority of us. The paintings were able to sit with me a great deal longer than usual. I was able to get to know them more and spend a long time adjusting each piece. I find there is a very nostalgic connection to the characters I use in the paintings, and they are there as a vessel to show form and movement. They are used in an abstract way to convey an image I want to build. The characters are placed as a connection to the audience. Instead of telling someone how to listen to music or a song, they will make their own minds up and assimilate with the painting themselves. Rather than presenting a grand, elaborate theme, I present a painting that will make the viewer connect with what is in front of them."
Opera Gallery London Director Federica Beretta comments: “The large and bold canvases of George Morton Clark pull together childhood imagery and abstraction bringing to life and reinterpreting pop images thanks to use of colour and drawing. This results in works of great positivity which are able to spread positive energy and celebrate life. In the light of the tragic events of Beirut harbour, we thought than nothing better than George’s paintings could spread a message of hope and solidarity. Devolving part of the proceeds to the Paediatric Intensive Care Unit at St. Georges Hospital is a little gesture of support for our Lebanese friends”.