Exhibition News: EM works on paper at David & Schweitzer


Torn from the notebook: drawings by Elizabeth Murray

curated by Jason Andrew, Estate of Elizabeth Murray, Courtesy of Pace

David & Schweitzer
56 Bogart Street
Brooklyn, NY 11206
Fri-Sun 1pm-6pm

November 3 - December 10, 2017

On view are twelve drawings for paintings dating from single decade (1987-1995) of Elizabeth Murray’s illustrious career. This exhibition coincides with a major exhibition of paintings Elizabeth Murray: Painting in the ‘80s on view at Pace (510 W25th Street, NYC) through January 13, 2018.

In an interview in 1986, Elizabeth Murray stated, “Primarily, I think that all my work is completely intuitive.” This group of drawings was been selected to show just that. As working drawings for paintings, many splattered in paint capturing the immediacy of the moment, offer insight to the process of one of America’s most celebrated artists.

The 80s were an important decade for Murray. The artist had become “bored with squares and rectangles” and sought to break from traditional. “Shapes are nothing new” she said, “and in the beginning I wasn’t trying to do something original with the shape, I just wanted to work with different edges. The Russian constructivists and Mondrian, they are fascinating, but lines and squares don’t ultimately continue to hold that much interest for me. If there is anything I know about myself […] is that change is a real pattern for me.” And so, she set to working out her ideas in notebooks and in doing so, she re-imagined a new space for painting.

Drawing was an important part of Murray’s process. However, she never allows it to dictate the final outcome in her paintings. Drawing was not a means to an end. Drawing was variations upon variations of a single idea:

“Usually I start intuitively […] I have a little book, record book, and I do little drawings inside that […] Recently since I have had more time and energy I’ve been doing more drawing around the painting or for that painting. I certainly don’t’ do a drawing before and then do the painting. That I’ve never done. It would kill it for me. I don’t think that way.”

Murray was protective of her relationship with her ideas — to approach the canvas with multiple ideas and allow for the immediacy of the moment and the paint to take over. “If I analyzed it before then I would really have nothing to do. I can virtually not imagine approaching the work that way because it is so intensely about this relationship, this time that is new and very unknown when you begin, and then gets more known and then gets unknown. It would take the life out of it complete for me to work any other way.”

*All quotes: Elizabeth Murray in PROFILE, Vol. 5, No. 3, 1986.

This exhibition was organized in collaboration with the Estate of Elizabeth Murray and Pace Gallery, which is presenting: 

Elizabeth Murray: Painting in the 80s
November 2, 2017 – January 13, 2018
Pace Galler, 510 West 25th Street, NYC