Ciarán Murphy, hollow daze (2023), via GRIMM
On this month at GRIMM in London, Irish artist Ciarán Murphy presents a solo exhibition of new paintings that mark his ninth solo show with the gallery, and his first at its new London outpost. Engaging with the entanglement of technological and analogue modes of image-making, the artist’s work here works through a range of histories of the image and the act of art-making in turn.
Ciarán Murphy, shutter, stutter (2023), via GRIMM
Negotiating an infinity of found images, Murphy splices together various source materials, allowing for chance encounters and incongruity to coalesce and collapse seemingly distinct subject matter into resolved compositions. In doing so, he examines and disrupts the dichotomy between original and copy, in favor of painting a blend or ‘mutation,’ asserting the painted medium’s capacity for verisimilitude; its ability to more accurately capture an atmosphere or sensation through approximation rather than direct mechanical reproduction.
Ciarán Murphy, kind of blueish (2021), via GRIMM
Beginning each painting through a process of cutting and collaging different symbols and motifs across the canvas, Murphy allows competing foregrounds and backgrounds to merge unexpectedly. In this way, each painting is realized through the union of visual elements that might be jarring and harmonious in equal measure. Once a desired subject reveals itself, Murphy sets about rendering it in oils, often drawing on a range of techniques, from areas of impasto and passages of scumbling, to the scraping and sweeping of paint from the surface, dissolving the absolute clarity of the subject and allowing the image to fade away from easy perception. Murphy’s paintings therefore engage with the phenomenology of sight itself, asking what the human eye can distinguish that a camera lens or computer screen, for instance, might not.
Ciarán Murphy, Through and through (1) (2022), via GRIMM
The result are works that negotiate and question just how one might consider an image “produced.” Exploring the gap between the image as captured and as expressed, Murphy’s work is a striking inquiry into process, presentation, and practice.
The show closes February 25th.
– D. Creahan
Ciarán Murphy at GRIMM [Exhibition Site]