Catherine Murphy: Interview

Catherine Murphy, Persimmon, 1991, oil on canvas 25 3/4 x 29 1/2 inches (courtes
Catherine Murphy, Persimmon, 1991, oil on canvas 25 3/4 x 29 1/2 inches (courtesy Peter Freeman, Inc., New York)

Jennifer Samet interviews painter Catherine Murphy about her work and career.

Murphy comments: "I used to just say all representational painting is narrative. But I think it is all narrative, and I think form can be subject... I ... considered how I could make these two things— form and subject—mutually inclusive, not exclusive. How do I make these two things depend on one another so that they can’t be separate but neither can be denied? How do I get the pitch of both of them equal but somehow supportive of one another? That is what I’ve been trying to do for a long time. But it took a long time to understand, or even have the courage to do. One of the reasons I decided that subject really matters is that people buy paintings according to the subject. I have yet to meet someone who bought a painting of a subject they wanted nothing to do with, simple as that. When I love a painting, that’s part of why I love it too. I see paintings abstractly, first and foremost, but if it’s going to be a representational painting, if it’s going to be a Descent from the Cross, I’m not going to be blind to that."