Although he had lived in London for 22 years, up until the hot summer of 2013 Leon Morrocco’s vivacious paintings took inspiration from his hunt of the exotic in Australia, Italy, Morocco, and India. Then, exhilarated by the colour and life close to a boatyard on a tiny island in the Thames, Morrocco worked en plein air to capture it in paint, subsequently spending days walking and sketching from both north and south river banks, using these as blueprints for studio paintings.
Working with John Martin Gallery in London, who exhibited his early ‘Drawing the River’ parts 1 & 2 in 2014 & 2015, we bring to Kent recent drawings and paintings, exploring the waterways up to Brentford. These include monumental canvases of thick impasto paint, with the grit of Morrocco’s original drawings but in addition the power of scale. Boat yards, tightly packed Dutch barges, decorated narrow boats, and the people who live and work aboard them. A skilled draftsman, Morrocco has a flair for colour and his works contain a hint of humour. We are excited to be transporting part of his studio into the gallery inclusive of rags, pots, brushes and a mountain of paint created from months of starting a fresh palette each morning.
Leon Morrocco will be in conversation on Saturday 21 May from 4pm talking about his techniques, travels and finding London.