Our first exhibition with artist Morgan Howell
Do you remember your first time? No, not that. I’m talking about that trip to the local record store to buy your very first seven inch single. For many music fans, me included, consuming singles was a huge part of teenage life. There’s something magical about a great single. Smiths guitar maestro Johnny Marr (who went so far as having the ‘45rpm’ logo tattooed on his arm) had it right when he said:
“The seven-inch single, as an entity, is an absolutely powerful, possibly otherworldly object.”
Many of our clients are collectors of classic LP cover photography, often because they want a special link with a memory of something sonically important from their past. Equally, singles are worthy of celebration, and for many people, their cherished music memories come from classic singles rather than albums.
With that in mind, I am delighted to introduce you to to the work of British artist Morgan Howell, a Fellow of the Royal Society of Art, whose work is the subject of our new exhibition.Morgan has found a way to celebrate that supreme icon of contemporary pop culture, the seven inch single, in a visually arresting and totally innovative way.
From 1 August to 31 August 2013 we are hosting the inaugural gallery exhibition of Morgan’s incredible supersize 3D paintings of classic vinyl singles. The exhibition, titled ’45 rpm’, will be held over both floors of our exhibition space in Piccadilly Arcade.
Morgan creates original paintings of seven inch singles, but on a huge scale, and in three dimensions rather than two. Each one of his supersize painted singles measures 27 x 27 inches, approximately fifteen times the surface area of the original singles on which they are based.
Morgan’s 3D artworks are a world away from regular paintings on flat canvas, as they are constructed in hand-painted, worn bags, crinkled and creased at the edges. Those dinks and dents are important, as he faithfully reproduces each idiosyncracy in the original single. He explains: “Sometimes you find the owner’s name is written in pencil, and that’s part of the history and heritage of the piece.” In the centre of each hand-painted record bag sits a circular 27 inch disk of black vinyl, onto which Morgan hand-paints all the original label details. Framed, they occupy a 32 x 32 inch square chunk of wall.
As Mojo magazine eulogised:
“It’s enough to provoke a Proustian rush even if you don’t own the original Vertigo 45 of Black Sabbath’s “Paranoid”. The 3D quality is uncanny, just like an original single has been blown up with some science-fiction enlargement machine and plonked on your wall.”
Morgan’s original paintings are attracting a cult following among musicians and music industry moguls. His painting of David Bowie’s “The Jean Genie” sits proudly on the wall at Sony Music, and famous owners include Ozzy Osbourne, Neil Diamond, Sir Andrew Lloyd Webber, Don Letts, Jerry Dammers, and Al Murray. Examples of his work are a permanent feature of the Radio 2 Green Room alongside Elton John’s piano, and when the BBC interviewed The Rolling Stones in London’s Dorchester Hotel in the run up to their concerts at the 02 in November 2012, three of his supersize Rolling Stones singles formed the backdrop. A matched pair of his paintings of The Beatles double A-Side “Hey Jude” and “Revolution” fetched £20,000 in an auction at Abbey Road studios.
This is Morgan’s first one man show, and will feature 30 of his artworks, including The Beatles “She Loves You” (which he started to paint on the fiftieth anniversary of the single’s original release), Bruce Springsteen’s “Born To Run”, Bob Dylan’s “Like a Rolling Stone” and “Waterloo Sunset” by The Kinks, amongst others.
I hope that you enjoy this fabulous collection, and can find a way to bring vinyl back into your life, in a big way, with one of Morgan’s supersize original artworks or limited editions.
Guy White, Gallery Owner