He attended the Camberwell School of Arts and Crafts in 1952-53 and the Royal College of Art from 1954 until 1957. In the mid 1960s, Morley briefly taught at Ohio State University, and then moved back to New York City, where he taught at SUNY Stony Brook from 1970 through 1974 and the School of Visual Arts.
In the early 1970s gestural touches began to break into Morley’s pictures and his motifs increasingly attested to violence and destruction.
By the early 1980s Malcolm Morley was established as a leading Neo-Expressionist. Towards the close of the 1980s, Morley returned to his early motif repertoire of ships and planes, which now figured in large-scale installations that were a combination of paintings and mobiles.
By the mid-1990s, he was using model planes from sets, which he represented in two dimensions but with an abstract tendency. His work often draws upon various sources in a process of cross-fertilization.
Malcolm Morely won the Turner Prize, London, in 1984 and has exhibited internationally throughout his career.