The Elizabeth Murray exhibition at Skidmore Place boasts some of the artist's most unique works. Murray came to ULAE in 1986 and began working in lithography. In Blue Body, 1986-87, Murray confronts the complexities of the medium. She expands the scale of the table and guitar, which consume much of the sheet, and works on both plates and stones, building up the density of color and illusion of texture. When considered in sequence, Murray's prints reveal her desire to surpass previous accomplishments, to bring something new to the process while integrating it with her painting and drawing. For Down Dog, 1988, Goldston and printer Brintzenhofe devised a way to paint from several matrices, hand-tearing, and reassembling the prints using tabs.
Murray's return to pure lithography in the early 1990's came with an intensity and excitement as her prints joined her paintings and entered the third dimension. Shoe String, 1993, was made from thirty-six aluminum plates and has twenty-one colors, a palette of hand-torn sheets of paper linked by a string woven through the elements. Murray's next print Shack, 1994, combines techniques of Shoe String and the earlier dog prints, incorporating separate sheets of paper and three dimensional qualities.
ABOUT THE ARTIST
After earning her BFA from the School of the Art Institute of Chicago (1962) and an MFA from Mills College in Oakland, California (1964), Elizabeth Murray (1940 - 2007) settled in New York in 1967. Keeping with the spirit of the time, she abandoned painting in favor of interdisciplinary and multimedia works. In 1977, however, Murray resumed painting, and by 1976 had received her first one-person exhibition in New York at Paula Cooper Gallery. By the early 1980s Murray had become well known for her ability to transform cannily abstracted images of common items-coffee cups, tables, musical instruments and dogs- into lushly painted, animated low relief forms. Breaking with her early minimalist influences, Murray defined her own particular brand of representation as a balance between illusionistic painting and dimensional sculpture.
Her work has been in several of the Whitney Museum of American Art's Biennial Exhibitions (1973,1979, and 1985); a survey of her paintings and drawings was organized by the Dallas Museum of Art (1987), and a retrospective of her prints toured to museums throughout the United States and Japan (1990). Murray began printing with ULAE in 1985. Initially she turned to lithography as the closest approximation of her drawings but collaboration with poet Anne Waldman combined lithography and etching. By the 1990s she was working with ULAE staff to create prints that incorporate three-dimensional attributes to approximate closely the contours of her increasingly sculptural paintings.