- When19 August - 16 October 2022
- CuratorTerence Maloon
- Exhibition opening - no registration required6pm, Thursday 18 August
Idris Murphy’s work … evokes neither a clear and distinct knowledge of the outside world, nor a mapping of the Australian landscape that would relocate its otherness in the familiar indifference of the decorative arts, his art offers a magnificent opportunity to escape from the realm of the déjà vu.
This survey catches a great Australian painter at the height of his powers. Born in 1952, Idris Murphy developed deep roots in the history of painting as well as a profound feeling for the natural environment. Murphy’s idiom transcends “either/or” — it is indistinguishably landscape painting and painterly abstraction all at once. Arising from a sort of improvisatory incantation, the most vivid metaphors of land, space, light, mood and feeling seem to coalesce spontaneously and unbidden.
This happens even when Murphy’s pictorial means strike us as most improbable and outlandish: recent paintings make abundant use of metallic pigments and wildly abstruse colour combinations. Despite their bizarrerie and casual-looking primitivism, each painting resolves brilliantly into its surface and shape, and exudes a rare poetry of “place”.
Although his idiom is largely abstract, Murphy’s work might be seen as a form of Romantic landscape paintings. Like the Romantics, looking at the natural world also becomes a looking within the self, or the search for a relationship with the Creator of both self and world. One could adopt a more formal, secular perspective, but the brooding nature of his imagery suggests a deeper source of motivation.
Idris Murphy graduated from National Art School with a diploma in Painting in 1971. In 1982 he became a lecturer at the University of Wollongong, NSW, and was instrumental in establishing the printmaking department of the newly founded School of Creative Arts. Murphy completed a Doctor of Creative Arts at the University of Wollongong in NSW and a Graduate Diploma (Education), SCAE, Sydney whilst he was a lecturer at the College of Fine Art at UNSW from 1988-2007. He became the National Art School’s Head of Drawing in 1997. His studio is located in Kurnell, Sydney.
Things are not what they look like, not even the people and creatures and forms most familiar to us. Looking deeply, humbly, reverently exposes the viewer to alliances, consequences, yearning … When you look long enough, the subject of your gaze seems, eventually, to respond. Or perhaps it’s you, the viewer, who is changed: something has stuck, something’s going on.
Buy Now / $25 + $10 postage
- TitleIdris Murphy: Backblocks
- SpecsSoftcover, 64 pages
- PublisherDrill Hall Gallery Publishing.
- DetailsTexts by Steven Harvey, Terence Maloon, Jacques Delaruelle. Publication design: Ella Burrett and Tony Oates. Photography: Adam Crews.
- Price$25 + $10 postage / Buy Now