#FFFFFF Manifesto, new works March 2021. See more instagram.com/morganstok.es


3-8 December 2020
M2 Gallery
4/450 Elizabeth St,
Surry Hills NSW 2010

As 2020 unfolded, our world view inadvertently shifted from the physical to the virtual. Our loved ones and colleagues were rendered to the maximum degree of pixel density our devices could handle; we became our front-cameras. The tradition of illusion in art had shifted into our palms. We were now the illusion. 


Despite its appearance, ‘Homophone’ is a rumination on the virtual world. These works are a response to our escalating entrapment within our screens, a reaction to the endless stream of digital images we endure. In a digital-first world, image is mundane.


The works seek to explore the physicality of painting as well as the way we perceive image itself. Embracing the notion of end-game painting, the works have the potential to bore and confuse. The age old question, “what does it mean?” has been usurped with the more pertinent “do I ‘like’ it?”, a legitimate response to something positing to be an image in 2020. 


Eschewing a manicured, well-rendered illusion in favour of sparse canvases with few, self-conscious strokes, a cynical thread runs through the pieces. They are aware of themselves as paintings and as eventual JPGs; they waver between something to look at and something to scroll past. They exist as interstices, the pace of the works lie in direct contrast to the speed of online requiring an observational discipline, an invitation to pause and look.


‘Homophone’ is an enquiry into the medium of painting which explores and exploits material properties of paint, canvas and timber. However, they are explorations developed through the lens of the screen and as such are self-referential products of Adobe tools: the eyedropper to pick colours, the brush to create marks, the gradient function, cut & paste.


Each painting is a formal study in colour and material, overlaid with marks which appear both accidental yet mechanical, intuitive yet intentional. They strive to be honest and abject yet covertly exist otherwise: marks made by a robot vacuum echo human marks, synthetic iridescent vinyl sits atop raw canvas, contrived organic colours live beside the real thing. Stepping back, the overall effect ranges from introspective and melancholic to sardonic.


Ironically the JPGs, which will become the end product in the lifecycle of the works, will be the way the works will be largely viewed and remembered. Any nuance or corporeality will be abolished when shifted online, completing the full circle from digital conception to painterly work back to virtuality. 


As we reach the point of singularity, what is real and what is human is fast becoming a blurred question for the first time in our species’ history. By exploring perception through the physical and the tactile in a world of digital illusion, ‘Homophone’ is a quietly duplicitous reflection on a year characterised by a shared global anxiety and the increasingly critical technology that has mediated us throughout.