Elizabeth Murray's Southern California

Elizabeth Murray, Southern California, 1976, Oil on canvas. 6’ 7 1/4″ x 6′ 3 1/2″
Museum of Modern Art, New York NY

Carrie Moyer writes about Elizabeth Murray's paintings for Painters on PaintingMoyer discusses her early engagement with Murray's work and describes Southern California (above) like a painter in love.
While the 6-foot square format of Southern California is conventional, the image is anything but. At first glance the picture feels overwhelmed by a giant lopsided cherry-red blob that extends past the perimeter of the canvas on all sides but one. Along the right edge, the curve of the circle comes perilously close to being cut off and that sliver of space transforms the circle into a balloon floating over a black ground. The small white dot hovering in the lower corner pushes that edge even further back. On the left side, the corners are royal blue and orange and serve to both “catch” the red ovoid and wrestle it to the ground (literally). The three bright, primary school cut-outs (apostrophes, lips, kewpie doll eyes?) are strategically placed to further enhance the oscillation from figure to ground, from representation to abstraction.  more


Popular Posts