In his second guest blog George Morl focuses on Disposition of the Digital Youth 2018. This large-scale artwork within ‘Precious Boys’ was created in response to the dangers of digital technology and societal pressures on young people. His post ends with a poem extract taken from his book Pubescent Plumes which is available for sale in the Beecroft shop.
George Morl: Precious Boys is on show at the Beecroft Art Gallery until the 8th of September 2018.
George Morl, Disposition of the Digital Youth, 2018
Acrylic, varnish, industrial glue, hair, copper filaments, protein powder, protein flavours, ink, paper collage, glitter and sequins on canvas
© George Morl 2018
Disposition of Youth
Sex education when I was at school was predominantly heterosexual. Because of the alienation that this causes so many young men in particular are forced to observe graphic material online to be educated. The issue is that poor self-esteem and fear of rejection manifests as a risk of developing addictions later on in order to confront extreme feelings of loneliness. And with smartphones such material is now accessible nearly everywhere and publicly. Increasing use of digital technologies utilised for dating platforms has enabled queer individuals to find companions but at the same time has also led to exposing young people to increasing dangers, whether it be through projecting edited unattainable images of muscular men or by being groomed.
Disposition of the Digital Youth 2018, explores the plight of a boy in seeking affection amongst these pressures. Painted in protein powders and flavourings, the pigments have been deliberately formulated so that upon drying separate and crack like damaged artworks though preserved under varnish and industrial glues; I have used materials associated with adapting bodies today. The central figure is unidentifiable, anonymous and fluid, like a phantom lover or body existing as a user on an online profile acting as a tribute to a multiple of victims. Decorated with collages of images of cherubs and babies from historical paintings depicting the Virgin Mary and Baby they are juxtaposed with cropped images of abdomens and torsos directly appropriated from online. Exhibited resting against the wall, with others on ceramic tiles they emulate gravestones for unknown soldiers making contrast between innocence and vulnerability.
Within the George Morl: Precious Boys exhibition at Southend Museums: Beecroft Art Gallery, I wanted to curate a purposefully made shrine that memorialised those who had been murdered as a result of engagements through dating apps such as Grindr. My painting Disposition of the Digital Youth 2018 is presented alongside the paintings of Beggar Boys Playing Dice by Bartholomew Esteban Murillo and Education of Love by Joshua Reynolds. I want to communicate that throughout history the fragility of youth has remained the same, though the modes within which the risks to youths exist have changed and more alarmingly become more intense.
George Morl: Precious Boys, Installation View, 2018
© George Morl & Southend Museums 2018
Attributed to Joshua Reynolds, Education of Love (After Titian), Oil on Canvas
© Southend Museums 2018
(In The Well of Loneliness)
56 people are attracted to you…act on it now
5 users are online now
::: Electronic invitations
you have one new message – ‘Hey handsome How are you x’
they tour the online adverts
i heard of their loneliness
those evenings through nights
searching for someone
i understand their struggle
led by desire, need for affection
false pierced limbs
bruised bloods torsos
eyes red raw
to meet their end
found in god’s garden, place of rest
they now sleep alone
they dreamt of fame, had aspirations
and got fame for all the wrong reasons
conscribed to articles
how we should revere their souls
‘if they had been gurls
they would have been protected’
Poem Extracts: George Morl, Pubescent Plumes, 2018