Quarrel by Matt Murphy

Works on view:
Rabble, 2024 Oil on Canvases

Quarrel, 2024 Oil on Canvases

Untitled, 2024 Oil on Canvases

Banshee, 2022 Oil on Canvas

Picti, 2022 Oil on Canvas

Pixie, 2022 Oil on Canvas

In his artwork, Matt Murphy plays with an interchange between sculpture and painting. Sculptures are real physical objects. Viewers also recognize objects in paintings as real physical objects even though the painting is simply a flat surface covered in paint. In this way, paintings craft an illusion of reality. Murphy is curious about works such as Spanish polychrome sculptures which mostly depict saints. A viewer first sees these sculptures as objects which are then secondarily enhanced by a painted surface that creates the illusion of light suggesting the transcendence of humanity. In his multi-canvas paintings such as Rabble and Quarrel, Murphy strives to disrupt the illusion of painting by inserting the wall in between elements, allowing viewers to see the artwork as a physical object before immersing themselves in the painted illusion.

Drawing is central to Murphy’s practice. Working around ideas such as the grid, Murphy begins each painting by drawing his ideas on paper. Murphy is inspired by artists who create art as an attempt to explain their own personal experiences to the world. such as Blinky Palermo in his Times of the Day series in which Palermo records his experiences of light changing throughout the day. In naming his artwork, Murphy plays with language and only hints at concepts that he sees being revealed in the composition. However, he prefers to keep the interpretation of his works open by often titling his works with double meanings. Murphy finds that the most important role of an artist is to attempt to translate a personal life experience through their art whether the attempt is successful or not.

Curated by Sarah Harper