Ivan Morley (b. 1966, Burbank, California) combines virtuosic craftsmanship, deep knowledge of the discipline of painting, and a committed sense of place, creating works that take on the medium’s major narratives even as they glorify its minor pathways. For twenty-five years he has made works that challenge expectations about how paintings should be made and what they should depict. He employs seemingly “lower” techniques and materials, such as embroidery and glass painting; at the same time, he is the author of a strange but immediately recognizable set of images and stylistic modes. These arise from remembered and misremembered histories related to California’s past. Morley works in series, some of which span the entirety of his career and are ongoing; each work represents a further distortion or abstraction of the narrative that gave rise to the series in the first place.
Ivan Morley has been the subject of solo exhibitions at venues including David Kordansky Gallery, Los Angeles (2022); Bortolami Gallery, New York (2021 and 2016) and Kimmerich Galerie, Berlin (2014). Group exhibitions include Abstract America Today, Saatchi Gallery, London (2014); Painting Expanded, Tanya Bonakdar Gallery, New York (2011); The Artist’s Museum, Museum of Contemporary Art, Los Angeles (2010); DAS GESPINST, Die Sammlung Schürmann zu Besuch im Museum Abteiberg, Museum Abteiberg, Mönchengladbach, Germany (2009); Imagination Becomes Reality, Part IV: Borrowed Images, Sammlung Goetz, Munich (2006); and Painting in Tongues, Museum of Contemporary Art, Los Angeles (2006). His work is in the permanent collections of K21 Kunstsammlung Nordrhein-Westfalen, Düsseldorf, Germany; Museum of Contemporary Art, Los Angeles; Santa Barbara Museum of Art, California; and University Museum of Contemporary Art at the Fine Arts Center, University of Massachusetts Amherst. In 2020, the first comprehensive monograph dedicated to Morley was published by David Kordansky Gallery and Bortolami Gallery. Morley lives and works in Los Angeles and Big Sur, California.