Tag Archive | Elizabeth Murray

Modern Art Monday Presents: Elizabeth Murray, Terrifying Terrain

Terrifying Terrain
Photos By Gail

Elizabeth Murray belonged to a generation of postmodern artists that challenged the austerity and impersonality of Minimalism and post-painterly abstraction by working in different techniques and styles simultaneously, blurring perceived boundaries between traditional media. Composed of multiple, irregularly shaped canvases that are seemingly combined haphazardly, Terrifying Terrain (1989 – 90) is a sculptural painting  — or a painted sculpture? — that conjures the precariousness of an awe-inspiring rock-climbing trip in Montana. Jagged, overlapping planes convey the mountainous landscape that the artist experienced there, as well as the constant threat and fear of falling. The opening in the middle simulates the effect of a climber’s vertiginous view down into a ravine.

Terrifying Terrain

Photographed in the Metropolitan Museum of Art in NYC.

Mosaic Tile Coffee Cups in the 59th Street Subway Station

Blooming Elizabeth Murray
All Photos By Gail

If you’ve ever had to transfer from the 4 and 5 lines at 59th Street / Lexington Ave to the N/R/W or 6 trains on the upper level, then you have passed by the huge mosaic tile Coffee Cup Mural on the mezzanine level, which is part of a larger work called Blooming, by artist Elizabeth Murray.

Blooming Elizabeth Murray

Murray has also scattered smaller mosaic tile shoes and coffee cups through the stairwells and on the train platform walls.

Blooming Elizabeth Murray

The artwork was installed in the station in 1996.

Modern Art Monday Presents: Elizabeth Murray, Once

Once
Photo By Gail

In 1978, Elizabeth Murray (1940 – 2007) made a series of irregular, star-shaped paintings with the aim, she said, of “trying to complicate and obfuscate the edges” of her medium. Indeed, the jostling contours and vivid colors of Once appear to explode outward, as if pressing the very form on the canvas into new arrangements. Murray’s dynamic compositions, charged brush strokes, and radical disruption of the frame transform the picture plane into both surface and object. While these paintings appear purely abstract, hints of imagery and reference return in subsequent works. Drawing on Cubism, Surrealism and Minimalism, Murray’s fragmented geometries and biomorphic shapes reinvigorated formalist painting in the 1970s and 1980s.

Photographed in the Metropolitan Museum of Art in NYC.