George Morton Clark is a portraitist who is concerned with how modern society is affecting and distorting our self image. In one painting a woman is oblivious to the viewer as she checks herself out on her phone. Meanwhile, her neighbour takes our photograph, but her eyes look vacant. It’s a great view of today’s society where many people are more concerned with capturing a moment and sharing it online, than they are with experiencing it.
Morton Clark is best known for his abstract collages that harbour a street art feel. Though they are well represented here, these are the weakest works on display alongside those featuring religious iconography. One exception is the painting depicting a screaming monkey, which is a powerfully dark and primitive piece.
The artist’s latest foray is into a more representative approach to portraiture. This is where the exhibition shines, with a set of more emotively effective works. These paintings have a much more personal feel to them with their blurred outlines and sad expressions hinting at people who are just about holding it together.
One subject appears as if his eyes have been melted shut, while a self portrait depicts a melancholy Morton Clark in which his facial features aren’t visible in the enveloping darkness. This is a diverse exhibition from an artist whose work is getting stronger and, in our opinion, moving in a fascinating direction.
George Morton Clark: The Devil’s Cabinet is on at Imitate Modern, 27a Devonshire Street, W1G 6PN until 22 March. Entrance is free.