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There is never more than a fag paper between them: Javier & Marc Drawing

James Robert Morrison

United Kingdom

Drawing, Pencil on Paper

Size: 17.6 W x 18.5 H x 0.8 D in

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About The Artwork

'There is never more than a fag paper between them' Series The artist overheard a teenager describing a gay couple as 'never having more than a fag paper between them'. James explains “In my teenage years, I didn't know anyone gay, there were no 'out and proud' public figures and school was an exclusively heteronormative environment due to to the Section 28 law passed in 1988 stopping councils and schools promoting the teaching of the acceptability of homosexuality as a pretended family relationship”. Inspired by this and the play on words (in the UK, ‘fag’ is first and foremost a colloquial term for a cigarette, before being a homophobic slur), James has created a series of drawings of male couples on the unique and challenging medium: fag (cigarette) papers. They are referenced from a personal collection of gay porn magazines, secretly gathered during his teenage years when he felt pressured into hiding his true sexuality. At that time, this was the only place he could see representations of intimacy between men. Please note that this artwork is only available in a white hand painted wood frame with non-reflect and UV protection glazing - framed dimensions provided

Details & Dimensions

Drawing:Pencil on Paper

Original:One-of-a-kind Artwork

Size:17.6 W x 18.5 H x 0.8 D in

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After graduating in 2002 with an MA Fine Art from Central Saint Martins, James worked in a central London commercial art gallery for 3 years. Following this, he moved into the public sector where over the past 14 years he has worked for the Museums, Libraries and Archives Council, Arts Council England and the UK Government Art Collection. In January 2019, after a 17-year break, he went back into the studio to continue his art practice in London. Since then, he has been longlisted for John Moores Painting Prize (2020 & 2023), shortlisted for the VAO UK & International Emerging Artist Awards (2023), RBSA Drawing Prize (2023), The Bridget Riley Fellowship (2023/24), THE TAGLI 01.23 Collection and Mentorship Award (2023), StART x MMG Emerging Artist Prize (2022) and Derwent Art Prize (2022), been selected for the Royal Academy Summer Exhibition (2021), won the Mervyn Metcalf Purchase Prize at the ING Discerning Eye Exhibition (2021), and was awarded a special commendation at the Trinity Buoy Wharf Drawing Prize (2020). James's work reflects on the experience of discovering his sexuality and his journey to understanding, accepting and valuing it. Since returning to his practice, his focus has been on a new body of work with two key threads - personal experience as subject matter and the referencing and re-appropriation of a personal archive of gay porn secretly collected during his teenage years when he felt pressured into hiding his true sexuality. James recalls: “At that time, these magazines were the only place I could see representations of intimacy between men. This was the pre-internet age when anti-gay sentiment in the UK was at its peak following the HIV/AIDS pandemic and introduction of the notoriously homophobic legislation - Section 28 of the Local Government Act. There was virtually no queer representation or visibility, and if you did happen to find some, it was certainly not positive”. From drawings on cigarette papers, to paintings and collages embellished with embroidery - James approaches his use of media in a playful way with complete openness, whilst consistently maintaining a quality and cohesion, making it deeply personal.

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