In 2013, Greg Murr discovered a group of forgotten photographs stored on his hard drive. They were images of a single peony cut from his mother’s garden. While the flower itself was long gone, the photos had captured its experience and stirred something within Murr. The body of work descended from a single peony stretches to this day, and continues to reveal itself anew with what can be found between the petals.
Decontextualised, abstracted, and extracted from their environment, Murr’s blooms invite the viewer to see patterns present throughout the expanse of the natural world. Looking into the curl of a flower, one can see the spiraling arms of a galaxy, small jetties in a stream, a tropical storm as seen from above, or the lines of a snail’s shell. Murr’s peonies are specific and ubiquitous, an observation honoring patterns in nature. They are the flowers themselves and also the entire universe.
There is beauty in Murr’s micro-level meditations on the peonies summoning the cosmos. The pure aesthetic delight and the forms themselves invite the viewer to appreciate nature from a broader vantage point. With Murr’s guidance, it is possible to step beyond anthropocentrism, the constant narrative of our lives, and the scenarios in which we consume ourselves.
While his flowers harken to images from the outer reaches of scientific exploration, there is a contravening pull in to the work by the allure of nuanced light, the atmosphere of individual petals in a comparatively material empty space, the suggestion of something vaguely photographic, and the remarkable lack of evidence of the artist’s hand. Murr is an illusionist. He meticulously constructs these compositions to betray their making, covering his tracks on the way out.
The exhibition title, Fields and Gatherings, draws on multiple and layered meanings. We have fields of vision and fields of peonies; fields of energy and fields of quanta. While fields may record and demarcate that which already exists, “gathering” is an intentional process of curating and assembling, typically done with an agency assigned to living things.
“I want the viewer to find their own universe within my paintings,” says Murr. Fields and Gatherings is the latest in a near decade-long exploration of form, light, shadow, movement, space, and time. We are delighted to exhibit this new body of work at Turner Carroll Gallery.
Opening reception Friday, November 4, from 5-7 pm. View the work in the exhibition here.
Greg Murr uses familiar resources from nature to examine some of the fundamental properties of our world: space, time, matter, and motion. His paintings feature arrangements of delicate peony blossoms; alluring in their recognizability, but also insinuating a certain spatial fabric and a presence of gravity with their networks of lines, folds, and masses. Rendered in layers of nearly transparent paint, the exquisite blooms are depictions of both levity and weight, of motion and stillness, of growth and collapse. In his Thermal Study pieces, clusters of blooms ascend, suggesting a plume of smoke or rising cloud of steam. In other works, Murr experiments with the results of layering translucent petals in undulating compositions. These allusions to motion, vitality, transcendence and ephemeral physical existence embody them with substance beyond their identity as flora.
Greg Murr is an artist with incredible museum and exhibition credentials. He earned his BA and MFA in the United States and was immediately recognized by major museum curators. In fact, the Whitney Museum of American Art in New York acquired a selection of Murr’s works for its permanent collection when Murr was only just out of his graduate program in printmaking. Murr then went on to live and teach art in Venice, Italy. Later, he relocated to Berlin, Germany, where he works today. His artwork is exhibited worldwide.
Artwork in the exhibition may be viewed here.
Rooted in ancient art and still prevalent today, depictions of blossoms, blooms, and other botanical elements can be found in many of the most significant art movements. There’s no way you can evade the emotive inspiration that comes from flowers. For centuries, humans have exchanged flowers as an expression of the entire emotional range, from “I love you” to “I’m sorry.” In a sophisticated language of color and form, these works by Greg Murr are ephemeral and emotional, with their poetic symbolism rubbing against the mechanisms of value, history, and trade. The artist will be present for the opening.
Artwork in the exhibition may be viewed here.
Opening reception Friday, February 1, from 5-7 pm.
There is a great interview with Greg Murr in the New American Paintings Blog, on the back of his being included in the recent NAP issue #101. Greg goes in depth and wanders around his particular vocabulary explaining what it is that he’s up to. An illustrative quote that we really liked is Greg is “…not interested in who we are as much as how and what we are…” In the context of Greg’s recent political work, this is a great key to decoding his enigmatic constructions. A link to the article is here.
We are very pleased to say that we are representing two new artists, Greg Murr and Shawn Smith. Greg is an artist we know well, having shown his work in the 1990s before he moved to Germany. His work is in the collections of the Whitney Museum of American Art and the Progressive Collection, among others.
Shawn Smith came to us via collectors in Dallas. His work is sculptural with an aesthetic built on the digital idea of a pixel but rendered in wood. His most recent work is focused on how we experience nature through technology.
For Murr, the arc of nature runs deep within his practice. A fascination with the way the observable world exists outside our everyday awareness guides his work. Since 2008, Murr’s work has featured dogs with their noses to the ground, relying upon instincts to guide them, loose among a world of tangled pearls or fashion’s latest high-heels.