Thursday, October 27, 2005

More Murray

The Brooklyn Rail has an interview with painter Elizabeth Murray and curator Robert Storr.

Rail: And how do you see Elizabeth’s work in the context of the recent history of shaped canvas? There are those who would fit into that category, for example Frank Stella, Lee Bontecou, and Ron Gorchov?

Storr: The argument that I made back in the eighties when I first heard about Elizabeth’s work, that I’m making again for the catalogue essay, is that basically she’s the first painter to have fully developed the possibilities of a shaped canvas work, which is based if you want to call it on the surrealist side of the equation that Stella and others had done. It goes way back to Russia and Argentina in the 1940s. What they did was figure out how to make a shaped canvas that was faceted in a way that a cubist painting can be faceted. But the idea that the container of the painting, the support, would follow the same elastic surface geometries as the forms within the painting, the biomorphisms, that was touched by no one. And Ron [Gorchov] was the only person who has stuck his foot in the water, but he didn’t take it as far as it might have been taken at that point. And I’m a big champion of his paintings, as you know, so I’m not admitting to reasons of criticism, again, but Elizabeth simply saw an opportunity that’s been sitting there for seventy years. I think it’s indicative of how she’s important, not just why she’s important, that not being deterred by the fact that there’s no argument out there for doing it, and not trying to get in on the arguments that are always in play around Stella, and seeing physically and materially what can be done, has made a dramatic change in the paintings.


At 6:27 PM, Anonymous ML said...

I've been very surprised by the comments about her show. They seem to fall in two categories - hate the work vehemently and adore her. I'm very excited that I will get to see the work soon and make up my own mind. The best show to hit LA in the last two years was the Lee Bontecou (spelling just vanished from my brain). Given that so many of the shows highlighting new talent are disproportionately male, it is interesting that no-longer-young women are finally getting some spotlight.


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