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Artists Elizabeth Murray
Elizabeth Murray Photo

Elizabeth Murray

American Painter

Movement: Neo-Expressionism

Born: September 6, 1940 - Chicago, IL

Died: August 12, 2007 - New York, NY

Elizabeth Murray Timeline

Quotes

"I like it when it takes a while for the image to slowly merge, if it does at all."
Elizabeth Murray
"...I don't sand the paint down. I let it build up and I let those things appear. Sometimes there is a mark or a ridge. Some people like this and some people don't, but for me it's the history, the real history, of the painting. It's not just the end but all those places it's been."
Elizabeth Murray
"The word being spread was, 'Haven't you heard? Painting is dead!' I thought, 'Oh, really? Well, to hell with that. I'm painting.'"
Elizabeth Murray
"There wasn't anything else that I could do [painting]. I couldn't think of anything else that I could do; and also, I loved it. It is about making things, and it's about expression, and it's about creation."
Elizabeth Murray
"I think it's...a man's world, painting. Photographers have been more successful, and they've been brilliant too, because there haven't been a lot of men there first. We've had centuries of men who painted. That is kind of considered a man's territory. I don't know why, because painting is so feminine in a kind of way."
Elizabeth Murray
"I'm honing the idea, sharpening it until the line is right and I have just the right feeling. Then, that's the image. I get myself to start painting by throwing down the paint down-splashing, scrumbling, mushing the paint with no real goal that eventually it will turn into something."
Elizabeth Murray
"I love to look at paintings. I would say next to making art, looking at it is the thing that gives me the most pleasure."
Elizabeth Murray
"In the early sixties for me, feminism didn't exist. I never thought about it, but I was one of the few women who were trying to be painters."
Elizabeth Murray
"I feel very lucky, actually. I've gotten to explore the world this way and it feels like an incredible gift. I love to paint, it's that simple."
Elizabeth Murray
"I think of art as a tool. It saved my life. It's a way to escape."
Elizabeth Murray

"My paintings are often strange, and sometimes show me a part of myself - a violence and physicality that scares me. It's not always pleasant or easy. I don't always like it, and really when I do them it's a journey."

Synopsis

Elizabeth Murray's paintings are fun, cartoonish, and also deadly serious in their commitment to the medium and its boundless possibilities. Murray is famous for expanding painting's dimensions by working across multiple canvasses, and fragmenting the picture plane by breaking up not only the image, but the painted object itself.

Murray's work plays between abstraction and recognizable imagery, using bright, garish colors to portray objects, people, relationships, and emotions: in particular the works express a joy in painting alongside a healthy disrespect for the hallows of painting's serious histories and, later in her life, a frank acknowledgement of her own mortality and illness.

Key Ideas

'Pastiche' is a term used to refer to a celebratory imitation of an artwork or style. Parody is a similar term, but means an imitation produced to mock. Murray's paintings often both pastiche and parody painting's history: using recognizable Cubist and Modernist abstraction techniques and reinterpreting famous works of art in a way that playfully pokes fun at the hallowed history and contemporary seriousness of painting as a medium.
Unlike many of her cotemporaries, Elizabeth Murray was determined not only to paint (after one of painting's many purported deaths), but to make fun paintings. Influenced by cartoons, Murray's work is intentionally bright, often silly, and always playful.

Biography

Elizabeth Murray Photo

Childhood

Elizabeth Murray was born in 1940 in Chicago, Illinois and grew up in Bloomington, Indiana. Her parents were Irish immigrants and her mother took care of the family, while her father worked as a lawyer. Despite her father's job and a few good early years, the family often struggled financially and experienced some bouts of brief homelessness. Murray admired her mother's artistic abilities; particularly her painted miniatures, but saw her as "a typical woman of the thirties. She didn't have the whereabouts to make herself have a career." Despite her parents' traditional background, they didn't pressure her to get married and have a family; rather, they expected she would become a commercial artist due to her love of drawing.

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Elizabeth Murray Biography Continues

Influences and Connections

Influences on Artist
Artists, Friends, Movements
Influenced by Artist
Artists, Friends, Movements
Elizabeth Murray
Interactive chart with Elizabeth Murray's main influences, and the people and ideas that the artist influenced in turn.
View Influences Chart

Artists

Joan MiróJoan Miró
Frank StellaFrank Stella
Willem de KooningWillem de Kooning
Paul CézannePaul Cézanne
Juan GrisJuan Gris

Personal Contacts

Jennifer Bartlett
Nancy GravesNancy Graves
Hans ArpHans Arp
Georges BraqueGeorges Braque

Movements

SurrealismSurrealism
CubismCubism
Abstract ExpressionismAbstract Expressionism
Pop ArtPop Art
AssemblageAssemblage

Influences on Artist
Elizabeth Murray
Elizabeth Murray
Years Worked: 1967 - 2007
Influenced by Artist

Artists

Carroll Dunham
David SalleDavid Salle
Katherine Porter

Personal Contacts

Jennifer Bartlett

Movements

Neo-ExpressionismNeo-Expressionism

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Cite this page

Content compiled and written by Kristen Osborne-Bartucca

Edited and published by The Art Story Contributors

" Artist Overview and Analysis". [Internet]. . TheArtStory.org
Content compiled and written by Kristen Osborne-Bartucca
Edited and published by The Art Story Contributors
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