13 November 2011

Matthew R. Murphy


Can you briefly describe what you do?

I am a painter. Canvas and oil are a primary mode. However, I work with a variety of media. The constructions inherently express similar things differently. Depending on the necessities of the idea or my curiosities in material or presentation the work will take different forms. I find my work caught between the world of illusion and the object with no clear way to resolve this. I find some ideas must be objects posing as paintings and sometimes paintings posing as objects, while still other times paintings are simply paintings.

What drives you to make work?

I suppose there are a lot of reasons to make work. One may be simple curiosity, another may be a need to express something or perhaps to draw some meaning out of a particular kind of organization. Much of it is simply sorting through and organizing ideas.

Can you tell me something of your day-to-day working practices?

I struggle for a concise answer to this question. It is difficult to find time for any consistency in a working process while trying to balance “real-life” and other responsibilities. So trying to cope with a fractured working sequence can disrupt the feeling of the day-to-day. Most days work begins with prepping surfaces. This could mean priming, sanding or wiping so that paint will stick. Sometimes it is shaping pieces for painting this can require a lot of plotting and measuring. Very practical things. At some point painting will happen so this means mixing colors, applying them, scraping and wiping them away and mixing again. Somedays work is simply drawing or collaging, or otherwise working toward generating ideas. I am usually searching for something that is hard to point to. It could be an idea or combination of ideas about color, composition, materials, or perhaps something I have read about or listened to or have seen.
How long have you been working in that way?

I am not certain.

Which artists have had the greatest affect on your work?

William Turner, Arshile Gorky, Blinky Palermo, Philip Guston and Chaim Soutine to isolate a few.

What, outside visual art, informs your practice?

Many things. Teaching informs my practice.   The carpentry/craftsman work I do provides encounters with new ideas and new materials that can set off or inspire new ideas in the studio. I read a lot and listen to a lot of music - these things help. I do a lot of thinking while riding a bicycle or riding a train. Mostly, I try and keep my eyes open wherever I am.

How would you like people to engage with your work?

This is an interesting question I sometimes think about. I feel that one cannot dictate to the viewer how to engage with a piece. People bring what they bring. But one can direct the viewer. After all we engage with an El Greco differently than we do with a Pollock. So I suppose I would like the viewer to slow down and look closely. I would like them to be actively engaged but receptive.

Have you seen anything recently that has made an impression?

Imi Knoebel's shaped panels for Blinky Palermo.  

Do you have anything exciting on the horizon?

Whatever it is I'm not ready.

1 comment:

  1. "whatever it is, I'm not ready." I love that. Thanks for your candor.