Catherine Murphy: Two Subjects - Forty Years

Catherine Murphy, Self Portrait at Easel, 1973 (courtesy of the artist)
Catherine Murphy, Self Portrait at Easel, 1973 (courtesy of the artist)

John Yau blogs about the work of Catherine Murphy on the occasion of the exhibition Catherine Murphy: Two Subjects – Forty Years, curated by Portia Munson, at the BYRDCLIFFE Kleinert/James Center for the Arts, Woodstock, New York, on view through August 11, 2013.

Yau writes that Murphy "is uncompromising in ways that I admire, which is to say she is not dogmatic. Always in hot pursuit of what she sees — subjects so commonplace and underfoot that other painters working in a parallel vein would not think of looking at twice — her subjects have become more memorable to me as the years pass: a balloon floating against the ceiling of a girl’s bedroom; a bathroom sink half full of water, with hair floating in it; a dirty tablecloth; a hole in the ground; a paint spattered studio floor; a cut-paper snowflake taped to a windowpane; a window at night, surrounded by Christmas lights. In these and many other paintings and drawings, Murphy transforms the bedrock bleakness of our daily life into something unforgettable."