June 5, 2008

Catherine Murphy questions our relationship to the commonplace

In the NY Sun David Cohen writes that the real enigma of Murphy's treatment of the perceived world is that she is "neither hyperrealistic nor impressionistic, nor is she so remote from her own facture as to achieve — or seem to want to achieve — total verisimilitude. The Greeks had a concept of ekphrasis, of such extreme realism that, in a famous example, cherries were so perfectly rendered that birds were fooled into pecking at them. With Ms. Murphy, you always know that it is paint — you are not lured into a trompe l'oeil state of suspended disbelief. Her realism is deadpan but handmade....he drawings take Ms. Murphy and her viewers into an even deeper level of sheer depictive obsession. Her graphite has such minute yet specific marks (pinpricks of highly sharpened pencils) that it achieves an otherworldly surface in which you feel the material has been breathed onto the page rather than applied with any intentional force. There is something of the exalted monomania of an old banknote engraver about these images, also recalling the fastidious touch of Vija Celmins." Read more.

"Catherine Murphy: New Work," Knoedler, New York, NY. Through August 1.

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