Review: Whitehot Magazine: EM at CANADA


“I realized that I wanted to go in pursuit of the Holy Grail – I wanted to be a painter. It was kind of a magical decision.” - Elizabeth Murray quoted in Paul Gardner, “Elizabeth Murray Shapes Up” Artnews, September 1984

Those who go in quest of the Holy Grail have little use for teacups. The painter Elizabeth Murray was known to take offense to having the cups in her paintings referred to as “teacups”, a pejorative term to an artist who was doing plenty of heavy lifting and battling the gender dragons of the art world. There is nothing dainty about Murray’s work or her handling of materials. She could bend a pipe as well as any strongman or pound a piece of paper into submission with an embossed line of a pen like a blacksmith’s hammer to a sheet of metal on an anvil.

   Murray’s magic is on display at CANADA Gallery in a show curated by Carroll Dunham and Dan Nadel. The exhibition gives us the opportunity to look over the shoulder, and perhaps even between the ears, of the late Elizabeth Murray (b. 1940, Chicago; d. 2007, New York). It focuses on her creative process not by examining a large group of Murray’s paintings, but by her approach to drawing (and works on paper) from flint strip to furnace. It brings together over forty examples of drawings and one painting from Murray’s estate from the eighties through 2004. The exhibition is presented in two parts: A front gallery with two highly finished works; a pastel on paper, “For “Dream of Life” from 1988 and a shaped canvas, “Dust Tracks” from 1993; and a second gallery filled with many smaller scaled works that give us an intimate snapshot of her creative process. READ FULL REVIEW >