Thursday, March 23, 2017

Elizabeth Murray

Who Wants, 2003
From the series One series of 6 unique works
3-dimensional multi-colored lithograph/screenprint, 
cut, collaged, and hand-painted by the artist
50 × 47 1/2 × 6 in Edition of 6

my understanding is that this photo was taken during a panel of NY artists who met soon after  9/11
Elizabeth Murray is one of my idols, one of my heroines and a woman who I could write about for days and days. 

 I had the privilege of experiencing, and one does experience Murray's paintings, during her retrospective at the MOMA, NYC, October 23, 2005–January 6, 2006.  Murray's was of the first exhibits in the new and improved MOMA. I have always believed that Murray's was the perfect exhibit to showcase the museum's newly renovated space since many of Murray's paintings are huge and need large enough walls and enough space for viewers to stand back to be able to fully appreciate the work.  

I was first drawn to Murray's work because I was curious about who was this woman artist having a retrospective at the MOMA and whose subjects had a domestic feel and whose colors were wild and bright.  These were all elements of my paintings on the time and I wanted to study how Murray made these attributes of her work succeed in the contemporary new york art scene.  But when I entered the museum's galleries and came face to face with Murray's work my curiosity became utter devotion.

Elizabeth Murray, Möbius Band, 1974.
Oil on canvas, 14 x 28 inches (35.6 cm x 71.1 cm)
Collection of Ellen Phelan and Joel Shapiro
The scale of her work is compelling.  I still remember standing in front of some of her towering canvases and literally feeling a physical reaction.  I was also enamored with her twisted, morphed and sectional paintings. Note these 3 photos of Murray's work, you can see the progression that her canvases take, from square, flat paintings, to shaped canvases to skeleton-like puzzles of connecting and protruding brightly painted uniquely shaped canvas components (note the dates that these works were created).   
I was also drawn to how her paintings were really sculptures.  She also has 'sculptures', like her 'Red Shoes' shown below.  

"Elizabeth Murray" at the Museum of Modern Art, 
installation view, with Don't Be Cruel (1985-86), 
left, and Beam (1982) and More Than You Know (1983)

I was interested in the artist Elizabeth Murray because of her subject matter and her colors, but once I started to learn and read about her I became a devotee and I remember so clearly the day that I read in the New York Times that she had died, I felt the loss, for me and the world.

Morning is Breaking, 2005-2006
Private Collection, Los Angeles, Courtesy Pace Gallery
Below you will find quotes, excepts and links to more about Elizabeth Murray. Fortunately there is a good amount to be found online.  I HIGHLY recommend the art21 episode about Murray. And thanks to doing some research for this post I have discovered that there is a documentary about her, Everyone Knows ... Elizabeth Murray, which I can NOT wait to see.  Enjoy! VF

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