Eleanor Moreton Artist Talk, Paint Club Chelsea     23 February 2016


Eleanor Moreton, originally an abstract painter, turned to figurative painting after studying for her MA in Art History. She transcribes photographs into paintings as a way to discover what the images are trying to tell her, a way into the unconscious.

Themes that have preoccupied Moreton are the use of history as a metaphor for oneself, the repression of sexuality and the dysfunctional family. Moreton’s series, Austrian Man, a group of portraits of figures from this repressive period of history marking the beginning of psychotherapy, was her first work entwining these preoccupations.

Moreton is interested in deconstructing images and making composite paintings from two images. She creates new environments for her figures, experimenting first with watercolours to find the unfixed space in the paintings. This amalgamation can be seen in The Gift Of Shit, 2013. The subject is taken from a Pre-Raphaelite painting, Moreton is fascinated by the sexual tension and the melodrama present; she is drawn to the odd or funny. This unfashionable melodramatic tension is also found in 1950’s films such as Douglas Cirque’s All That Heaven Allows, 1955. Blue Coat 1, 2013, is painted from a film still from Cique’s film, using pure or secondary colours to echo the Technicolor, emulating the light glowing through the screen. It focuses on a claustrophobic small town, returning to the theme of the Austrian paintings. Moreton talked about these threads recurring throughout her work, also of the relationship between the source and the paintings, described as an on-going negotiation. The source holds the authenticity, it is important not to let it dominate.

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