Morgan Stokes

Stokes’ practice explores and reinterprets the medium of painting, and more recently, sculpture. His conceptual approach dissects painting into its discrete elements, such as linen, paint and stretcher bars, to enquire into what makes a painting in the digital age. By creating formal studies into material, Stokes’ works explore what he calls the ‘virtual gaze’, that is, how our mode of perception is shifting as our lives are increasingly mediated by the screen.

For his latest show, Stokes interprets painting as a metaphor for personhood and subsequently surface as a metaphor for skin. Skin is a primat response to material; rabbit skin glue, rock dust and raw linen sit beside worked fabric and metal, a conversation between matter both pre-historic and futuristic. The works are both introspective and reflective, Stokes’ post-minimal sensibility and meditative process evident with the gentle working of each surface. Skin recalls the origins of art, the nature of creation, and the role of material in an increasingly material-free culture.

“Morgan Stokes is drawn to subject matter that is anchored in everyday life but has a metaphysical interpretation. In his previous exhibition ‘Virtual Gaze’, the artist questioned the dissonance between experiencing art online versus in real life. Yet where he ruminated on the virtual world through painting and sculpture, with this new body of work, Stokes meditates on existence in, and perception of, the physical world around us.

Inspired by techniques and forms seen in Alberto Burri’s Material Realism, art movements like the Korean Dansaekhwa and Post-Minimalism, and the suspended sculptures of Jose Dávila, the works in ‘Skin’ are reduced in order to emphasise their materiality. Surfaces of the canvases form a type of skin, constructed through repetitive actions that create highly textured surfaces.” – A Glitch In Time by Steph Vade (2023).

Morgan Stokes (b. 1990) works from Sydney, Australia. He holds a Master of Design from UNSW and completed a four-month residency in Berlin followed by a year-long practice in Germany in 2019. Morgan has been a finalist in several esteemed art prizes including the Mosman Art Prize, 2022, Woollahra Small Sculpture Prize, 2023, Omnia Art Prize and Exhibition, 2023 + 2024, and the Darling Portrait Prize at the National Portrait Gallery, 2024. Morgan has exhibited within Australia and internationally, including a presentation of work with Curatorial+Co. at Sydney Contemporary in 2022. His works can be found in private collections across Australia, the USA, Germany and around the world. Morgan recently completed an artist residency at Kunstkollektivet 8B, Denmark, in 2023, followed by a solo exhibition at Pakhusgalleriet, Denmark.


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