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Tomàs Morell | Paintings related to life and its outcome

Published on
November 29, 2022
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Munchies art club presents the contemporary painter Tomàs Morell and his exceptional paintings.

Painting in testimony to a deep admiration and love for the feminine

The Munchies art club discovered Tomàs Morell’s work through the group show  called "Needful things" at the Uxval Gochez Gallery last year.

Today we are extremely pleased to share his work and his story in our featured artist article.

tomas morell, artist, interview
Tomàs Morell in his studio | Image courtesy Tomàs Morell, Photo @Nicole Gagnum

Who is Tomàs Morell?

Tomàs Morell is a contemporary artist born in Barcelona in 1964, and moved to Germany with his family in 1974, where he attended university, and subsequently lived in Nurnberg, Erlangen, Berlin, Cologne, Frankfurt. 

He currently lives between Barcelona and Albons (Empordà), Spain.

Tomàs Morell | Image courtesy the artist, Photo credit @ Júlia Morell

Tomas Morell graduated from the “Kunst Akademie”, Nuremberg, Germany, with a  Fine Arts degree in 1990.

He subsequently studied graphic design and communication in the “Escola Massana”, Barcelona, Spain, where he graduated in 1994.

We asked Tomàs a couple of questions and this is what he told us:

1. Please introduce yourself and your work

I was born in the grey Barcelona of 1964 as the second child of a Spanish/Catalan father and a German mother.

After the family business began to have some difficulties, my father decided to start a new life with us in Erlangen, near Nuremberg, Germany, my mother’s hometown. 

who is tomas morel contemporary artist
The smoke | 2022 | Oil on linen | 46 x 37 cm | Image courtesy Tomàs Morell

Moving from a southern family life typical of Barcelona at that time, to the life of a small provincial town in Germany in the 70s, had a remarkable impact on our lives and surely marked my intrinsic desire to find a way out of all the contradictions that were arising.

I believe that drawing and painting were a great help in this.
My art has always been related to life and has come out of it. 

artist to collect, tomas morell, contemporary art
Walking woman | 2022 | Oil on linen | 130 x 100 cm | Image courtesy Tomàs Morell

2. Are others in your family artistically inclined? 

My parents loved the arts. 

They were both lovers of classical music. 

My father studied violin when he was young at the conservatory in Barcelona and my mother liked to sing. 

works of art, painting, still life
Vier Stiefel vier Blumen | 2022 | Oil on linen | 73 x 54 cm | Image courtesy the artist | Image courtesy Tomàs Morell

She was the one who always took us to museums and places of artistic interest. 

I’m a bit embarrassed to say it... I don’t know why, but they decided that my sister and I should go to the “Orfeó Gracienc” to study classical ballet. 

There I had direct contact with the stage, the theatre and everything that surrounds it. 

These were probably experiences that later appeared in my work, in form of theatricality and ¨mise en scène¨.

paintings, females, feminine, wall art, collect
Young Catalan at the countryside | 2022 | Oil on paper | 23x16 cm | Image credit the artist Tomas Morell

3. When did you get started with art? What would you say were your earliest influences? 

Once in Germany, my sister took up ballet and I went through a period of studying piano and then, at the age of 14, I started painting lessons in the studio of Stanik, who was a local painter. 

I remember how impressed I was by his rooftops and panoramic views of traditional Franconian villages. 

tomas morell, spanish german artist, interview
The artist in his studio | Image courtesy Tomàs Morell, Photo credit @ Nicole Gagnum

I discovered that painting had the capacity to be veracious. 

Much earlier, at a very young age, I visited the Picasso Museum in Barcelona with my school. 

In front of a charcoal drawing of his, representing a horse mortally wounded in a bullfight, I saw for the first time a painting and I understood that with a drawing or painting one could express personal and intimate thoughts.

artist based in barcelona, paintings, studio
Woman running | 2022 | Oil on linen | 130 x 100 cm | Image courtesy Tomàs Morell

4. How would you describe your present work to someone who has never seen it? 

My most recent work deals with the human figure and the latest series more specifically with the female figure. 

I am interested in exploring ideas related to women’s identity and femininity, using contemporary stereotypical images, interwoven with personal memories and experiences. 

Studio view | Image courtesy Tomàs Morell

The invented scenes have a humorous character, among other things they allude to the debate around gender identity, and although they emphasise irony in approaching the human condition, the paintings are testimonies to a deep admiration and love for the feminine.

tomas morell, seaside, paintings, women, portrait
Young Dutch Artist in front of the seaside | 2022 | Oil on paper | 23x16 cm | Image courtesy Tomàs Morell

5. Why do the portraits of the women you paint predominantly have no facial features? 

When I first started painting women, I had been painting the feminine through bouquets and floral scenes full of gestures and movement for a number of years. 

I had spent a long time avoiding painting the body because of the problems it holds for me. I think that men and women are the most painted motifs in the history of mankind. 

oil painting, on linen, woman on beach,
Woman on the beach | 2022 | Oil on linen | 200x150 cm | Image courtesy Tomàs Morell

The references are endless. 

It is difficult to cover this subject without other artists coming to mind. 

I came from emphasising the gesture and I wanted to give continuity to this gesture, in the body. 

That’s why I tried to eliminate what seemed superfluous from the start. Minimising the facial, has allowed me to focus on other issues of the body. 

sketch book artist tomas morell, pencil
Badende | 2022 | Pencil on paper | 18,5x25 cm | Image courtesy Tomàs Morell

It is not about creating a style “per se”.  Rather it is part of a strategy to reach the emotional and therefore particular. I understand that painting comes from my personal script. 

I must follow the underlying narrative and give priority to what is the most essential. 

For Cezanne the face was the culmination of art and he used to save it for the end. 

I see myself one day painting faces and focusing fully on all their possibilities. Gestures, glances, internal structures, etc.

harbour painting, woman, artwork, collectors
Woman at the harbour | 2022 | Oil on linen | 200 x 157 cm | Image courtesy Tomàs Morell

6. Most of the paintings you have shared are outdoors, in nature or by the sea. What does the beach represent in your paintings? 

I believe it represents many things. 

As I mentioned above, I was born in a coastal city on the Mediterranean and the sea is therefore my most natural habitat. 

explore, discover the artist tomas morell
Woman walking on the beach | 2022 | Oil on paper | 32x38 cm | Image courtesy Tomàs Morell

Placing “the woman” in this external habitat makes it easier for me and therefore allows me to be more audacious in the negotiation between the inner/outer world.  

In the society of consumption and entertainment, the beach, its beauty, the idea of summer, warmth and lightness is associated with holidays and relaxation. 

contemporary art to collect, artist tomas morell
Femme au bord de la mer | 2022 | Oil on linen | 61 x 50 cm | Image courtesy Tomàs Morell

One could say that the beach is a place where one can expose oneself to the world, a place where one can enjoy oneself, a place where one can relax. 

It is a place where the great promise of freedom is exhibited. 

For thinkers such as Freud and Lacan, “the beautiful” is closer to evil than too good; for Lacan, beauty acts as a barrier and is situated on the border of its complete opposite. 

munchies art club presents featured artist tomas morell
Bouquet sobre sillón verde, | 2021 | Oil on canvas | 73x60 cm | Image courtesy Tomàs Morell

It could also be said that the horizon is the cradle of dreams, infinite longings, but that its tranquillity and calm and passivity also evoke ideas of eternal peace and therefore endings. 

A human being and a horizon provide much to play with...

work in progress, contemporary artists studio view
The studio | Image courtesy Tomàs Morell

7. Where is your studio? Where do you work from? 

My studio is in Barcelona, in the neighbourhood of “Poble Nou” , which used to be an extremely important industrial area in Catalonia. 

This neighbourhood lost its identity as a result of globalisation and is now facing a major renovation, which is going to be a determining factor in post-industrial Barcelona.

At the moment we are renovating another studio/house near the coast with my partner, who is also a painter.

femme fatale by the sea, painting, oil on linen
Femme fatale au bord de la mer | 2022 | Oil on linen | 62x50 cm | Image courtesy Tomàs Morell

8. How long do you spend on one painting? Do you work on more than one piece at a time? 

Too much time, due to my rather obsessive nature. 

I like to work on one piece at a time, intensively and until the end, but lately I have been forced to change this habit and work on several pieces in a row. 

In the end it is a more strategic position which allows me to produce more and makes it easier to respect the required drying times in oil painting.

reconstructing, structuring, emotional processes in artworks
Woman running | 2022 | Oil on linen | 100x81 cm | Image courtesy Tomàs Morell

9. Your work over the years has changed quite a bit. Would you call it development or diversity? 

I think it is both at the same time. 

So far, the most decisive thing for me has not been the search for a “ Style“ in capital letters, but rather the reconstruction and coherent structuring of my inner emotional processes.  

beach paintings, outdoors, faceless women portrait
Woman in front of the seaside | 2022 | Oil on paper | 34x23,5 cm | Image courtesy Tomàs Morell

I have not hesitated for a second to use creation and painting in a way that brings internal order. 

And it is also true that “diversity” is an interesting debate in art. 

My identity is diversity. 

I grew up speaking Catalan, Spanish and German. 

My conviction is that culture becomes much more interesting when it mixes.

studio shot, paintings, barcelona, Morell
Studio shot | Image courtesy Tomàs Morell

10. What role does Instagram play in your artistic practice? 

Yes, Instagram has certainly become an indispensable tool in my daily work as an artist. 

I love having the window open to the world, both to see and study, as well as to be seen. 

painting woman indoors, wall art, Tomas Morell
Woman in an interior | 2022 | Oil on paper | 23x16 cm | Image courtesy Tomàs Morell

Leaving the negative part aside, the internet and social media in particular have opened up the world and created endless possibilities for connection. 

It fascinates me to think that I may be making a piece in my studio that can then be perceived in another part of the world by someone completely unknown, but with whom there may be parallel congruences.

munchies art club, artist feature, interview
In the studio | Image courtesy Tomàs Morell

11. Any recent or upcoming projects you would like to share? 

At the moment I am preparing a solo exhibition which will take place in a gallery in Beirut in May 2023. 

There is another solo exhibition coming up at the beginning of 2024, this time in an institutional space on the coast of Maresma. 

I will start thinking about this second exhibition once I have sent the paintings to Libanon. I really like to thematize my solo exhibitions.

Selected Exhibitions

Solo exhibitions: 

2023- Artualgallery, Beirut, Libanon.

2020- “Déjà-vu”, Erlanger Kunstverein, Germany. 

2017- “Painting, Enigma and Desire” H2O Gallery, Barcelona.  

2014- “Ecce Homo,  How to become Who You Are”, Galerie Steiner, Berlin, Germany. 


Group exhibitions: 

2022- “Polychromy”, Artualgallery, Beirut, Libanon. 

2022- ”Needful things”, Uxval Gochez Gallery, Barcelona. 

2020- “Mira Barcelona”, Pfaffenhofener Kunstverein, Germany. 

1998- “The Partnaire Symptom”, Gallery Maeght, Barcelona.

1997- “Painting” and 1996- “Affinita”, Castello di Rivara, Turin, curated by Franz Paludetto and Carolin Lindig.    


Which keywords describe your work best.

Irony, parody, figuration, human condition.


Follow the artist on Instagram:


A big thank you to the incredible artist Tomás for sharing with us to share with you!

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