Carrie Moyer on Elizabeth Murray

Elizabeth Murray, Southern California, 1976, Oil on canvas. 6’ 7 1/4 inches x 6′
Elizabeth Murray, Southern California, 1976, Oil on canvas. 6’ 7 1/4 inches x 6′ 3 1/2 inches (Museum of Modern Art, New York)

Carrie Moyer writes about the work of painter Elizabeth Murray.

Moyer notes: "For me, Murray’s highly inventive approach to the figure/ground relationship and composition in general form the core of her oeuvre — so much so that all other aspects of the work feel sometimes ancillary in comparison. Color, line and form seem to be chosen for their ability to amplify and/or problematize the painting’s structure. In Murray’s homemade contraptions of Cubism, Surrealism and the Hairy Who, everything — from simple shapes to tables, cups, dogs, paintbrushes, clouds, to even lightning bolts — is squashed into a pliable form that can be stretched and spliced at will. This is as true of an early abstraction like Southern California as it is of the complex, multi-paneled works that Murray later became known for... While indulging our propensity to anthropomorphize and locate everything in sight, Murray’s exuberant paintings also reward us with wondrous moments of pure optical, visceral and cerebral pleasure, far removed from the known world."