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.