Catherine Murphy “Recent Work”

Peter Freeman

poster for Catherine Murphy “Recent Work”
[Image: Catherine Murphy "Camo" (2020) oil on canvas 49 3/4 x 49 3/4 in.]
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Ends in 39 days

For her third solo exhibition at Peter Freeman, Inc., Catherine Murphy (b. 1946) presents thirteen recent paintings and drawings. These still-lives, landscapes, and self-portraits are all carefully witnessed or imagined scenarios, and all rely on direct observation.

As Catherine Murphy’s work embraces this close observation, it simultaneously considers the intellectual, emotional, and abstract nature of painting, and humor. Over the extended time it takes to make each work, Murphy employs a thousand instances of looking, transforming seemingly isolated and fleeting moments into representations of passing time, meditating on reality as a place of constant and inevitable change. By grounding her imagery in the everyday, she loads her representation of familiar places and objects with narrative potential.

At the same time, Murphy magnifies the tension between representation and abstraction by organizing visual information through a unique geometric lens. Forms, patterns, and grids dominate compositions and create connections between works with otherwise distinct subject matter. They are each, in their own way, studies of light, color, and reflection. The form created by two dramatically lit plastic trash bags, filled with clothes and piled on an office chair, echoes the shape of a man’s torso. A figure shrouded in a beach towel works as an interpretation of a landscape within a landscape. Her depiction of plastic buckets filled with water looks at figure, ground, and merging picture planes. Each surface reflects a distinct image of light filtering through the treetops above, while the details combine to form a single dazzling whole.

“In Catherine Murphy’s quietly beautiful paintings, the everyday tips into the transcendental”

– The New Yorker (2018)

Catherine Murphy (b. 1946, Cambridge, Massachusetts) lives and works in Poughkeepsie, New York. Following her inaugural show at Peter Freeman, Inc (2013) the gallery, in collaboration with Skira Rizzoli, published her first major monograph, written by John Yau with a foreword by Svetlana Alpers. Murphy studied at Skowhegan School of Painting and Sculpture in Maine and received a BFA from Pratt Institute in Brooklyn in 1967. She is a member of the American Academy and Institute of Arts and Letters and has work included in numerous museum collections, including the Art Institute of Chicago; The Museum of Modern Art, New York; Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York; National Portrait Gallery, Washington, DC; San Francisco Museum of Modern Art; and The Whitney Museum of American Art, New York.



from November 12, 2021 to January 08, 2022

Opening Reception on 2021-11-12 from 18:00 to 20:00

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