Patrick Morales-Lee was taught by the painter John Virtue, graduating alongside friend and peer Antony Micallef. The last few years have seen an increase of interest in Patrick’s work, with exhibitions alongside renowned artists including Antony Gormley, Thomas Price, Gavin Turk, Sarah Maple, Anthony Lister, Shepard Fairey, Schoony, and Nettie Wakefield and many pieces, now illuminating the collections
of a number of well-known buyers. Also recently a number of works have been purchased by the Soho House Collection.
Patrick’s recent accolades include his work winning the Galerie Heimat & NG Art Creative Residency Art Prize 2021, judged by Kate Bryan and Laura Gascoigne, and also appearing on Portrait Artist of the Year (Sky Arts, 2020 & 2022).
Fostered at the age of three, Patrick was constantly aware of his surroundings and the, often self-imposed, expectations to conform. He now recognises those feelings as universal to the human condition, and the work looks to explore how the primitive desire for a sense of belonging motivates an individual’s behaviour and actions.
From the hustle of the schoolyard to trials of adulthood, we constantly strive for meaning and acceptance by trying to fit into a group. Whether it is aspiring to be one of the ‘cool kids’ or aligning ourselves with a faith, a football team, fashion, music or celebrity, the defining nature of being part of a tribe consumes us.
The work looks to showcase this through a number of snapshots: scenarios that provide a soft narrative to a given situation or process. These scenarios can be
at once unsettling or odd, but also comforting and familiar. Often the portrayed figure is depicted within a ceremony of sorts, with much of the work inspired by the Christian ceremony of Communion.
Embodied here is the idea of transformation, the taking on of something new, and the public exhibition of what Morales-Lee calls ‘active belonging’. Essential to this idea is that people will participate physically and mentally in an action, a ceremony of identity, to show to themselves and others that they believe, that there is meaning in the process, that they are not alone, and that belonging to something gives a tangible meaning to life.