Eleven Gallery presents Between the Lines by Geoff and Jenny Morten.
The exhibition brings together two bodies of work, which could be seen as running parallel beside each other. Jenny and Geoff lived at La Selva Beach on the Monterey Bay in California for nearly ten years. An area of outstanding beauty, the land around them was also one of contrasts, where surfing culture met agriculture.
“Although visually stunning, one did not have to look too hard to see that the whole infrastructure would collapse were it not for the labour of hundreds of Mexican workers, seen bent over in the fields every day” – Jenny Morten.
The plight of these mostly illegal workers is highlighted in Geoff’s series of paintings titled Local Heroes. As an immigrant himself, Geoff felt anger and sympathy for those who only achieved citizenship posthumously, having fought and died for America in Vietnam, Iraq or Afghanistan.
The underlying tensions of California are also echoed in the precarious geology of the area, with the San Andreas fault line running through the middle of the landscape. Earthquakes with a magnitude of four to five on the Richter scale were a part of daily life in La Selva Beach. Jenny’s ceramics tilt and lean, reflecting this unnerving instability. Yet they also achieve a balance, echoing the precarious nature of an otherwise serene environment.
The exhibition highlights the dilemma of two artists faced with a land of contrasts. In the creation of these works, both Geoff and Jenny were exploring their own positions as immigrants in California, as well as the beauty of their surroundings.
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