You say you don't love me
28 March 2009 - 12 July 2009
From a distance Michael Morley’s response to the Big Wall is a resplendent pattern of hovering discs, which push and pull across the space like a colour-field of flattened forms that are vaguely organic. Closer inspection reveals that the discs are a sizeable collection of hand-painted 7 inch 45rpm records, smothered in gesso, coated with acrylic and finished off with varnish. These are musical remnants from a by-gone era that will not be returning to a turntable in the foreseeable future.
You Say You Don’t Love Me is a perverse statement. The artist has killed off the potential sound of these discs by physically rendering the one-pop wonders mute. The sounds that have past their prime have been sealed underneath layers of paint, applied by the artist to each disc as it has spun helplessly around on his turntable, then dried off, gathered up and turned into a visual work of art.
As an artist who walks the line between painting and experimental music Morely is constantly searching for trigger points that can bring these activities into a rich and playful convergence. You Say You Don’t Love Me seamlessly brings together the artist’s interests in recording sound and distorting visual and aural patterns, a fact which is made obvious in the production, presentation and arrangement of these discs.
The artist has one final act of subterfuge up his sleeve however, and that is that he has configured his discs using the pattern of Braille: the system of writing for the blind that uses characters in the form of raised dots. What might be spelt out across the Gallery’s Big Wall would normally be de-coded through a system that is understood, activated and comprehended via touch. As we are prevented from touching, and the work is in any case an abstraction of the Braille format, we are all left in the dark. The artist has carefully and deliberately combined something subtle and sweetly toxic into his final mix.