Geoff and Jenny Morten met at York Art School in the late Sixties, where they studied under Robert Brumby. They continued their art education in London together - Geoff at the Royal College of Art and Jenny at the Central School (now Central St. Martins). After graduating in 1970 they were married and continued their journey working together in their partnership of J&G Morten Ceramic Designs based in Richmond, North Yorkshire and later pursuing separate teaching careers, Geoff at Sunderland University as Principal Lecturer in Fine Art and Jenny teaching ceramics at Darlington College. Making time to continue as artists while teaching full time was always a challenge.
In 2003 the Mortens seized an opportunity to move to La Selva Beach, California, where they set up their studios and began working as full time artists. Geoff divided his time between painting, printmaking and etching. Jenny concentrated on producing large hand built sculptural vessels and small thrown porcelain ware. Living on the spectacular coast of the Monterey Bay had a liberating influence on each artist. Geoff's work began to display a new richness of colour and a sense of enjoyment in the physicality and layering of the paint. Jenny found inspiration along the shoreline of the Bay and in the convoluted landscape of the earthquake country around the nearby San Andreas fault.
However, this idyll was not to last. Geoff died suddenly aged 62, and Jenny returned to England to settle on Yorkshire's East Coast. Here she set about cataloguing her late husband’s archive of over 1000 works, whilst simultaneously continuing to develop her own ceramic practice.
This exhibition at the New School House Gallery brings together a small selection of works from Geoff's archive. There are examples of paintings on canvas and board, monoprints, oil on paper, pastels, charcoal and etchings as well as sketchbooks of drawings which he produced every day as a visual diary. Jenny now works solely in a very white porcelain body which acts like a canvas to receive the vibrant coloured slips which are burnished, polished or glazed.
The title of the exhibition reflects the journey, both emotional and physical, that each artist has taken from standing side by side as students drawing York Minster, across an ocean and back to the East coast of Yorkshire where many years ago, Geoff painted the cliffs of Ravenscar and Jenny collected fossils.