In the Studio: Process of a Painting with Erin Murray

Erin Murray’s (NAP #69, #98) oil paintings have a way of making the everyday environment feel surreal, fluid, informal, and in flux.  Regular land- and cityscapes are painted to feel slightly off, making the viewer feel faintly uneasy compositionally, yet vaguely at home geographically.

Erin Murray | Settling (good neighbors), 2013, oil on panel, 24” x 24”

Familiar scenes – a pool, a backyard, a house, a farm – look commonplace, but feel so subtly upended that it leaves me, as a viewer, uncertain about the lonely and troubling feeling I have in contemplating and taking in her works.  Regardless of my feelings while processing Murray’s works and subjects, the end result of her works is something for which most artists strive and most viewers yearn – her paintings are thought provoking, conceptual, and meditative, all in one. - Ellen C. Caldwell, Los Angeles Contributor

2. philosophia final
Final piece: Erin Murray | Settling (philo-sophia), 2013, oil on panel, 24” x 24”

Below, Murray shares her detailed and meticulous process of creating one of her works, Settling (philo-sophia).  Her upcoming solo exhibition “Settling,” titled after this Process of a Painting piece shared here, opens at the Nancy Margolis Gallery on May 9th and runs through June 15th.

Plywood is glued to a poplar frame using gorilla glue, so it needs serious clamping!
Gesso applied with a taping knife.
Gesso is sanded smooth. Painting begins with source photos and a small sketch.
Sketch is scaled up.
First layer is blocked in somewhat sloppily; just trying to get a layer down while experimenting with color.
First layer down.
Some sections get their second layer, others get additional drawing.
Glazing employed in some areas.
Second, more time intensive and thoughtful layer applied to each area of the painting.
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The finished piece: Erin Murray | Settling (philo-sophia), 2013, oil on panel, 24” x 24”


Erin Murray has had recent solo exhibitions at the Fleisher Art Memorial (Philadelphia) and The Delaware Center for the Contemporary Arts (Wilmington). She has been included in recent group exhibitions at Vox Populi Gallery (Philadelphie) and Galerie Zurcher (New York). In 2012 she was awarded the West Collects acquisition prize and joined the artist's collective Vox Populi. You can find her work published in New American Paintings and Tabletop Zine.  And her upcoming solo show runs at the Nancy Margolis Gallery from May 9th through June 15th.

Ellen C. Caldwell is an LA-based art historian, writer, and editor.

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