Open to question
Glasgow-based artist Victoria Morton has left behind traditional deﬁnitions of art in favour of abstraction and ambiguities. Paul Welsh enters her colourful world.
The roar oftraffrc is loud in Victoria Morton's studio. Tucked behind Glasgow‘s Kingston Bridge. the location is perfect for an artist busy rebuilding bridges herself.
Having left a ‘traditional painting background'. Morton is on a journey — a mission to cross boundaries and develop a new style of painting which successfully responds to contemporary society and offers something interesting to the late-20th century eye. Big and ambitious. obviously this is not an easy option. Morton‘s current work features vivid colours - oranges. greens. reds — solid shapes with an organic feel and multiple visual planes. Combined with various techniques — sprayed. brushed and poured paint - she has produced a distinctive but difficult series for her solo show at Transmission.
‘I am trying to produce abstract work which is structured and put together in a logical way; Morton explains. ‘Although the end result is almost unintelligible. hopefully people will use their own intelligence to make sense of the paintings.‘
Morton repeats motifs. and although she insists they aren't symbolic. there‘s no shortage of interpretations for paintings which defy normal categorisation. The
In her ascendancy: tip, a painting In oil and enamel by Victoria hiorton
work falls somewhere between figurative and pure abstract. celebrating paint in all of its gooey. delicate. expressive wonder — so prepare to bounce between imagined spaces full of galactic possibility and cool exercises in application and process.
‘People can‘t help seeing things in my work.‘ muses Morton. ‘Planets and stars . . . an eye here . . . a smile in another. But I am not making pictures of anything in particular. I use my knowledge of graphics. painting and fashion - many things inﬂuence my work. Sometimes I stand back myselfand think “this is very odd . . . what the hell is it'?!". but it‘s not a picture of the Milky Way even if it looks a little like it.‘
This ambiguity is not a problem. Morton wants to create paintings with a ‘life oftheir own‘. attractive to the eye and affecting. but going beyond the formal arrangement of colours and shapes. Questioned about
life outside her brightly lit loft. she reveals some further audience pointers. Up on music. clubs. mixing and sampling. Morton‘s culture also includes the developrrient of computer-generated ambient-scapes. Rather than lead us into a fantasy world. she wants us to be aware of the painted space and how it works.
Wander through this exhibition and you'll discover ‘stoppers‘ - painted objects which disrupt or block movement through a space — and combinations of colours and shapes which open up others. Morton sites one painting. Perjomromre. as an example.
‘l wanted to make this painting active — almost moving — as ifthe image would have been different had i been painting five minutes later. Life goes on. you know.‘ Like the evolution of painting. it certainly does. Victoria Morton Is solo show is or the 7ivrrrsmission. Glasgoirzj'rom Tue IO Sept-Sat 5 Oct.
stylish alternative to paint eiiects
whole scene. But tiren industrial
hid thigley is talking about “as and wallpaper. iie’s m btarested In warehouses and M knack ior cropping up In thriller main: ’it’s quicker to name iilms H du't have a warehouse scene,’ Haves 8hrlgley, who can’t recall an what at The Blll which doesn’t id's one. But when it comes to w, he’s not that keen on the stdi. Ia has memories oi M his parents’ house and “maple la theass. today he’s I advocate at shipping walls at M and painting them white. II this Iay seem an odd conversatlaaal combo but then we’re sitting leaking at a place at
I lndll r: detail tram“ llavld Shrlgiey's wallpaper design
wallpaper designed. by Shrlgley illled with drawings oi warehouses. In a plea to show wallpaper can be a
and the distressed wall ilnlsh, 00A have commissioned tour artists to design wallpaper. Shrigley may seem an odd choice, what with aversion to wallpaper - he admits to setting out to make an artwork rather than a wallpaper - but It sure allows a quick way to cover your walls with art. Other artists taking part In The Wallpaper Project are Adrian Wlszniewski, Martin Boyce and iiayley Tompkins.
Shrlgley’s wallpaper shows an industrial estate - row upon row oi Identical buildings save ior their signage. Many oi the cuboid structures are signed ‘warehouse’ others are marked out as ‘goli course’, ‘dog house’, ‘sauna’ or ’church’. Outside little stick tlgures walk about, some heaving boxes. Set against a backdrop oi vlvld green, there’s a touch oi surreality to the
estates are oiten weird places ieels Shrigley. Anonymous places on the outskirts oi the urban sprawl they are epicentres oi activity existing In a strange twilight zone.
Shrlgley, a Glasgow-based artist known ior his sculpture and graiiltl- cum-cartoon drawings, has long been interested In the banality oi the everyday. lie once put a box marked leisure centre in the middle oi a wasteland. But collisions between culture and consumerism, the bizarre and the mundane are, in a way, periectly set out In his wallpaper. ilolls oi his industrial estate wallpaper and that at the other artists on show, are on sale at Glasgow’s emporium tor the swanky Interior, Ulce Ilouse. (Susanna Beaumont)
The Wallpaper Pro/act Is at 06‘, Glasgow until Sat 21 Sept.
58 The List 6-l9 Sept I996