About A W Morton

Artist's statement


Artist's statement

A W (Bill) Morton is an artist and teacher of some 40 years experience. His approach to his work is predicated on a comprehensive knowledge of theory and a well developed control of technique.

Contrary to the prevailing philosophy in art education, that of not overloading the student with pedantic technique, Bill fervently believes the opposite. He feels that a thorough knowledge of technique is the very ticket to freedom of expression; in fact, it frees the artist to focus energy on the more intrinsic, empowering and creative part of the enterprise.

In addition, Bill’s work is influenced by two other major pre-occupations. The first is that artists are constantly confronted with the problem of the three-dimensional (observed) world and how that is transposed to the two-dimensional surface the picture is painted on. As a key part of the creative process, it represents what he describes as one of the great challenges of the western European tradition of picture-making. How do artists rationalize this dichotomy, this contradiction—the three-dimensionality of the observed world, how that is depicted on the flat surface at the same time creating the illusion of three-dimensional space and form on that flat surface?

It is Bill's contention that these issues are at the heart of why artists paint pictures. Indeed it represents one of the great challenges that have kept artists painting for centuries and will probably continue to do so for a long time to come. With that in mind, the significance of an essential need for a sound knowledge of technique assumes paramount importance. But it also raises Bill’s second preoccupation, which has become a lifelong quest.

It is based on a search for what can be best described as 'non-visual abstraction'. It proposes that good art, great art, to communicate properly, to work, goes beyond a superficial pictorial representation of the observed world; that it is imbued with an `intangible spiritual quality', an `energy' that is inherent in the work itself. It is as if the work contains a life force of its own—a kind of ‘resonance’.

Paradoxically, it exists in the work only; it is over, above and independent of the artist yet cannot exist without the input of the hand, mind and spirit of the artist. Many works of art exhibit this quality and there are notable examples from history. Rembrandt, Turner, Cezanne, Klee, Kandinsky, Vincent—all produced work that exhibits something of these qualities. That is not to say the artists actively pursued it; it is likely they were not even aware of it. But their work definitely manifests something transcendent, some energy that is over and above and beyond the merely corporeal, physical, tangible substances of paint, canvas etc.

Attainment of this most usually occurs in an `altered state of consciousness', probably not unlike the heightened, more focused and in-touch trance-like state achieved when working in the right hemisphere of the brain. A higher level of technical proficiency creates conditions where this state is more likely to occur; the artist is freed from everyday technical considerations, these qualities are more likely to be able to `surface' and the pictures that result are really ‘alive'.


Artist - Art Teacher - Commission Artist
Learn to Paint
Toowoomba Gallery

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