Coinciding with the opening of George Morl: Precious Boys at the Beecroft Art Gallery we have commissioned artist George Morl to write a series of blog posts about his work. Across #pride week in Southend we will be sharing his posts. Morl’s writings confront sexuality, gender identity and the search for affection, all themes and experiences that have shaped him as an artist.
His writings provide an essential companion to the exhibition and examine in depth the influences behind ‘Precious Boys’. In his first post he describes the processes that have shaped his artistic practice and development into an ‘Orange Boy’.
George Morl: Precious Boys is on show at the Beecroft Art Gallery until the 8th of September 2018.
George Morl ‘Orange Boy’ © George Morl & Emily Jayne Boyd 2018
Affection has always been a central theme within my artistic practice, I suppose this is because I have a neurological condition and as part of this I find intimacy and physical contact extremely difficult. Whilst I was a student I received psychotherapy which enabled me to understand the reasons for why I approach situations in certain ways. As a child my mother dressed me and my siblings in brightly coloured clothes so that we could be seen amongst a crowd. When I was a teenager following on from family bereavement I was experiencing depression, though at the time I was not aware that I was. Boys are not educated to recognise their own emotions. At this point I can remember looking back at photographs of me in orange, which was often when I was smiling. So to me orange seemed like an obvious option to deal with an alternative and manageable means of expressing this emotion. This was where my obsession with orange began. My persona Edvardo Shadalow developed from there.
Constructing a persona is directly linked to my sexuality. Whilst I became aware of my sexuality this also came about with being victim of violence which resulted in me developing a phobia of men. This fear was coupled with the prospect of adolescence therefore to counteract this I manipulated my body image from starving to decrease my muscle growth to constructing an image through clothes. By avoiding thoughts about adolescence it seems to me that I am relinquishing the responsibilities of becoming a man including sexual. I am compelled to dress as a young boy because at once I am seeking a woman’s attention to protect me from men, and also to attract older men. It also serves a purpose at confronting my anxiety, in which dressing publicly as a boy I know why individuals are gazing at me. I can control where and why someone is observing me, in doing so it alleviates the anxiety I would experience in a socially engaged environment or space. Ultimately the ‘Orange Boy’ found solution to neutralise trauma.
BASILDON BOYS#2 Homage to John Mitchum
This land of broken promises … where gamins dreaming of being soadgers still, of no maternal cherishes: Ask why I’ve not left her?… Have they seen an orche flume wheat summer haze, stood amongst, embraced, the touch thermal catatonic babes? Have they cruised down boulevard concrete lanes, or rode through fuschia plumes drifting across abandoned days?
This thwarted nursery … where ethanolic preaching tribal juveniles parade astute: Do you pity their domestic armours or silver allures and crystal shut knives, Or applaud as the midnight blue guardian’s brigade arrive? Does the call for salvation make you tremble as you feel their fear? Do you look with compassion as abdomens rupture bloom near?
This plain of infantile waste … where monetary misery floods the reveries of tar fractured liquored plateaus: Have they sensed the hyped hash infused plashets, Or felt the presence of corpses fear pass their way? Do they pray for their loves as we rush to their crimson seas, or do we dream under the dawn starling choirs in our struggles to be free? Where once men once boys braved a landscape decayed and divine, so do you think of them as they have their future denied?
This faux marble paradise … where mothers weep for once lonesome cherubs but graveyards stones and jewels. Does the word affection mean but none to you? Does his image make you warm? Do you shed tears when you see the metallic gleams of shrines upon horizons new?
Ask me why I’ve not left her? She always had time for me – But what life is this, a careless, yet passioned reckless wild youth. I’ve sensed what bared, versed in loss, now seek truest tenders fair.
This is the formidable loss in the realm of the newtown blues – the Basildon Boys, how now, they perform for you.
Poem Extracts: George Morl, Pubescent Plumes, 2018
Read more blog posts from George Morl: