27th July 2013 — 31st August 2013
Galleria Monica de Cardenas, Zuoz, CH
David Murphy is an emerging British sculptor who approaches his work with an instinctive sensitivity towards the innate textures and qualities of the materials at hand. In doing so, he creates visions of indistinguishable, yet familiar, living or moving forms. In this exhibition he presents new works on paper, gessoed board, and untreated wood. In addition, there are three new steel sculptures: two of which are to be seen on a floor or table, and one conceived of with this gallery's garden in mind. The indoor sculptures are constructed from steel that is bent and woven through rings, the resultant object being a composition of coiled, concentric circles. The outdoor sculpture is a shallow three metre by two and-a-half metre grid of woven steel, which takes as its precedent the geometry and floor-bound work of Carl Andre, while suggesting the transplanted notion of a magnified textile weave. A coherent foil to the latter sculpture, the two-dimensional works often (and effectively) create the illusory effect of a moulded three-dimensional surface.
Murphy's sculptures are like drawings in space, flattened by perspective, this play between line and volume, space and lightness, is central to his work. In these new pieces, his distinctive line is tempered by a softness and rhythm. These qualities inform his exploration of patterns that define and re-present the patterns integral to organic forms, particularly on the wooden boards. Furthermore, the works engage with the microcosm and macrocosm of structures found in nature, acting like a lens that zooms in and out of woven fabric, foliage, or cells, revealing hidden or invisible structures, while remaining essentially abstract.
The way Murphy incorporates colour into his studies of form, while subtle, is essential to our emotional engagement with the works: one can see his carefully selected palette of 'in-between' hues, such as a brownish yellow, reddish black and grey-blue. The source of his palette in this exhibition is noteworthy: the wall-hung works are applied using a wide, dry paintbrush, and with the same paint as is traditionally used on the facade of Engadiner houses. Murphy discovered this material when spending time in the area (he was included in a group exhibition YES/ Young English Sculptors at the Fundaziun Not Vital, Ardez, in August 2012). Thus Murphy, as an 'outsider', offers those familiar with the Engadin a fresh way to appreciate the local topography, and realize the wealth of inspiration that can be garnered from this place of extraordinary light and landscapes.