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Filmed in 2002, Elizabeth Murray (1940–2007) is shown working on the large-scale painting Bop (2002–03) in her Manhattan studio. As Murray adds and removes shapes and colors to its interconnected canvases, she expresses frustration but later satisfaction with the piece.
To Murray, experiences like this, of finding resolution after struggling, was a highlight of being an artist. The completed artwork is shown at The Pace Gallery.More information and credits
Producer: Ian Forster. Consulting Producer: Wesley Miller & Nick Ravich. Interview: Alice Bertoni & Susan Sollins. Camera: Ken Kobland. Sound: Judy Karp. Editor: Morgan Riles. Artwork Courtesy: Elizabeth Murray & The Pace Gallery.
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A pioneer in painting, Elizabeth Murray’s distinctively shaped canvases break with the art-historical tradition of illusionistic space in two-dimensions. Jutting out from the wall and sculptural in form, Murray’s paintings and watercolors playfully blur the line between the painting as an object and the painting as a space for depicting objects. Breathing life into domestic subject matter, Murray’s paintings often include images of cups, drawers, utensils, chairs, and tables. These familiar objects are matched with cartoonish fingers and floating eyeballs—macabre images that are as nightmarish as they are goofy. Taken as a whole, Murray’s paintings are abstract compositions rendered in bold colors and multiple layers of paint, but the details of the paintings reveal a fascination with dream states and the psychological underbelly of domestic life.
“When I start to really hate it, it starts to go some place.
You have to get down into that place where you absolutely hate it and want to rip it off the wall—rip it to pieces and throw it out—to start getting into it.”