Catherine Murphy’s work requires close looking and contemplation. Painting from life, Murphy uses color, form and light to create paintings that challenge our skills of perception at the same time that they suggest intriguing narratives. With simple and everyday subjects, the artist generates unexpected journeys of discovery. Murphy does not work from photographs but, instead, directly from objects staged in her studio to recreate mental images drawn from memory and dreams.
By Efi Michalarou
Photo: Peter Freeman, Inc Gallery Archive
Catherine Murphy’s paintings and drawings show a profound interest in depicting common surroundings that usually escape our notice but nevertheless influence our perception. The choice between drawing or painting is, as the artist explains, determined by the subject itself, giving painting and drawing the same importance within the artist’s oeuvre. “Recent Work” Catherine Murphy’s solo exhibition is on presentation at Peter Freeman, Inc. in New York. n In her paintings and drawings, Murphy’s career-long interest has been in decoding reality as a place of constant and inevitable change, realizing abstract ideas through the exploration of everyday objects and situations. She inverts the viewer’s expectations and blurs boundaries—between interior and exterior, flatness and depth, background and foreground—and in doing so, upsets assumptions about the places she represents and the people who live their lives in them. In the newest works, Murphy has looked to her immediate surroundings both within and outside of her own home, continuing, in a profoundly personal way, a keen interest in depicting the most common surroundings that usually escape our notice but nevertheless influence our perception. Instead of stable, conventional spaces, Murphy often sets up specifically-defined formal situations. With a Minimalist formal rigor, her starting point is scale and geometry: yet her colors, patterns, and textures all bear information and narrative potential. Her depiction of an immediate, often intimate moment, establishes an implied open-ended narrative.
Info: Peter Freeman, Inc., 140 Grand Street, (Ground Floor, between Crosby and Lafayette), New York, Duration: 11/1-24/2/18, Days & Hours: Tue-Sat 10:00-18:00, www.peterfreemaninc.com