George Morl: Precious Boys

In his final guest blog exhibiting artist George Morl explores ‘Precious Boys #2’ a sculptural installation within ‘Precious Boys’ that confronts youth isolation and issues around masculinity.

George Morl: Precious Boys is on show at the Beecroft Art Gallery until the 8th of September 2018.


George Morl, Precious Boys#2, 2018

Plaster, industrial gloss, ink on sugar and alum salt

© George Morl 2018

Precious Boys#2 is a work that explores isolation within youth within a post-industrial landscape, which places the viewer in the foreground of an attractive physical nursery rhyme. Precious Boys is a collection of gloss coated sculptures which rest upon a mass of pigmented salt and sugar. The solutions, comprising of alum salt is reminiscent of Victorian children’s pain relief medicines and modern treatments for HIV patients. The installation as a whole is a contemporary vigil or rather a nursery rhyme for telling a tale of young men who are in emotional restraint and suffering from a mental illness. The work is informed by the romantic and enlightening portrayals of youths in the paintings of Francis de Goya and Joseph Wright of Derby’s depictions of boys blowing up bladders. Formed through plaster casts of clinical consumables, they draw upon the history of when condoms were made of the lining of bladders. In particular, they contrast the curiosity and innocence in playing with animal matter in the romantic paintings drawing parallels to today’s journey of self-awareness in sexuality in adolescence who at the same time may be experiencing severe mental health problems. Such alluring forms, which at first seem quite feminine, are decorated in lustrous industrial materials implying a body’s search for affection under the fragility of mental suffering, reflecting upon the social perceptions of masculinity and how this can lead to a lonely wasteland of youth. As a sheer mass on the floor beauty and pain are rendered on the same plateau and view. Ultimately Precious Boys confronts society’s problems with masculinity and are gravestones for young men who have taken their own life.




I wonder if I am alone in thinking that rural Essex is a place of alienation. Alienation for the children yet to be born. I am dancing for their hopes.


Most evenings in the softness of the summer haze, walking under the indigo par orange sets as flickering wires make premonitions, I consoled myself to weep. The secluded fields and meadows, thickets thigh deep. That was the eclipse of my youth. Purging myself in the undergrowth from fear of eventual guilt. Shamed by my pleasures, my indulgement, my image. These were the tears of an accolade of men. Yet to be.


I used to relent there.


My youth was now dead by several years now when I came to bear the gardens new.


You speak of your body education as something to be joyful about, yet such trophies could not disguise the sorrow I could see in you. I admit it I was once envious of you.


And then it hit me, we despise each other’s experiences when neither of them are of something to be gracious about, we internally hold no value. I slept in the gutters and waterways, you slept in strangers beds.


Each evening, knowing of my failures, my desires, my loneliness, I made my way to the waterways, the open-air body spots. Along the pilgrimage looking for quick fixes on street corners and public domains, under the cover of the parish lantern, as the moonbeams made halos above the resting drunks on the velour green benches. But to no avail. My first relationship, my first love, contained in a translucent capsule.


I used to relent to bottles. Alone.


Using my phone for guidance, I knew of the promised lands, where they were, electronic invitations. Strangers paradise; congregating by riverside, angelheaded hipsters and yearning wandering wreckless lads baring the mark of their parent’s hand. Bruised limbs, perhaps a cigarette burn or two. Heads filled with anger and desire. What a fatal mix. No sense of danger. Lead by need.


Affection, what a disease. First a bashing now a loving bashing.


The nights were the stories of desperation. Between the scrublands and grass seas. Chemsex. Drugfuelled lovedless. Disciples for the younglings.


I now relent to strangers. What a lie.


It is torturous to know who we are. The ability to love seems lost. To witness so many of my friends depart from my presence. I know of nothing for my morals, my parental expectations, are at odds with my will. My desires. We never had an education, and to this we have become the morning martyrs. We pain ourselves mislead by concepts of masculinity. We come to know of our bodies through others. To meet. To learn. But of others who too are of pain.


Angels down. Found. Decorating our mother’s hearts with our absence. Never told. To be held.



Poem Extracts: George Morl, Pubescent Plumes, 2018

Read more blog posts from George Morl:

George Morl: Orange Boy

George Morl: Disposition of Youth

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