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Ally Morton - Sustrai Exhibition 2023


May - June 2023
Sustrai, Ametzagaña Kalea 11, Donostia
Opening 6th May 20:00

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Paintings €100 (€80 8 Hold Your Sadness Like a Puppet and 9 Spinning the Wheel)

Drawings €40 (€55 framed)


1 Got My Head in the Clouds and I Can't Come Down, 2022, Oil on canvas, 35 x 27 cm approx

2 Murmuration, 2023, Oil on canvas, 40 x 30 cm approx


3 The Watcher, 2023, Oil on canvas, 38.5 x 46.5 cm approx


4 Inner Glow (The Lighthouse), 2023, Oil on canvas, 31 x 40 cm approx


5 I Left My Soul There Down by the Sea, 2022, Oil on canvas, 42 x 33 cm approx



6 Life's a Bummer When You're a "Hummer", 2022, Oil on canvas, 41 x 30 cm approx


7 Without You I'm Nothing, 2022, Oil on canvas, 35 x 27 cm approx


8 Hold Your Sadness Like a Puppet, 2022, Oil on canvas, 30 x 24 cm approx


9 Spinning the Wheel, 2022, Oil on canvas, 30 x 24 cm approx




1 Khai, 2022, Pencil on paper, 14.85 x 21 cm

2 Dog, 2021, Pencil on paper, 14.85 x 21 cm


3 Bird, 2021, Pencil on paper, 14.85 x 21 cm

4 Okapi, 2022, Pencil on paper, 14.85 x 21 cm

5 Snake, 2019, Pencil on paper, 14.85 x 21 cm



Ally Morton is a musician and painter from County Durham, UK. He took a break from painting in 2014 to focus primarily on his music projects, namely Massa Confusa.

He graduated in Fine Art from Northumbria University in 2009 and has had shows at B&D Studios, The Mercer Art Gallery, Wallington Hall, Gallery North, The Old Truman Brewery, Blackhorse Lane Studios, Empty Shop, and the Moving Gallery. He was shortlisted for the 'Valeria Sykes New Lights Art Prize 2011' and awarded a partial support stipend for a residency in October 2011 at Can Serrat International Art Centre, El Bruc, near Barcelona which he returned to in November 2012.

In 2017 Ally moved to Donostia-San Sebastian, Spain, where he is now based, and returned to painting in 2022. This is Ally’s first exhibition since 2014.

Artist Statement

As a music lover and musician, words and phrases capture my imagination, and I often paint objects, people and animals as symbols that reference a phrase or sentence. Wordplay, clichés, quotes, made up words, popular sayings, lyrics and puns are all used as inspiration.

These ‘symbols’ are painted in an imaginary world of mostly empty landscapes, created from internet found photography, or photos I have taken. However, they are not directly copied because spur-of-the-moment, almost ‘automatic painting’ is what interests me most.

The paintings are deliberately loose and imperfect, and the palette is limited with a focus on colour and light.


The ritual of painting is just as important to me as the final product. From curating what to listen to, choosing what brushes to use, preparing the room, to cleaning everything away at the end.


Imagery that ‘appears’ during the painting process is often incorporated into the design and the landscapes can therefore appear naive or child-like.

There is only ever a focus on an individual or small group and the paintings sometimes personify human behaviour, acts and emotions.

Goya, Bosch, Rego, Ensor, Redon, Turner, Beksiński, and Craigie Aitchison are some painters of many who are a key influence.


Cathy Lomax, Alli Sharma, Barry Schwabsky, Helen Baker (2011) ‘About Painting: Working Against The System and Fade Away’, pp. 147 – 148, UK: Transition Editions)


The Mercer Art Gallery (2011) New Lights: Art in the north - 24th September 2011 - 8th January 2012, pp. 14, UK: The Mercer Art Gallery

Selected exhibitions

‘Late Shows’, B&D Studios, 2014; ‘New Lights’, Mercer Art Gallery, Harrogate, 2011; ‘Unfinished Business’, Wallington Hall, Northumberland, 2011; ‘Fade Away’, Gallery North, Newcastle upon Tyne, 2011; ‘Moving Gallery Group Show’, Moving Gallery, Newcastle upon Tyne, 2011; The Sleeper/Alchemy’, Moving Gallery, Newcastle upon Tyne, 2010; ‘Artworks open 2010’, Barbican Arts Group Trust, London, 2010; and ‘Art just got interesting’, Empty Shop, Durham, 2010.


2012 Can Serrat International Art Centre, El Bruc, Spain: November 2nd - 26th

2011 Can Serrat International Art Centre, El Bruc, Spain: October 5th – 26th

2009 - 2011 Graduate Studio Northumbria, Northumbria University, Newcastle

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