Following his 2012 site-specific installation ‘Painted Shut’ at Vitrine Bermondsey Square, Canadian artist Wil Murray opens his first UK solo exhibition at Vitrine Bermondsey Street this March.
Murray’s practice, which spans photography, painting and collage, revolves around the application of multiple time-rich processes to the materials with which he works. Whilst he never redevelops a finished work, sections of a composition, once photographed, can become the launching pad for a new growth of material ideas from which new compositions can be born.
The works on show span the last three years of production, during which time Murray describes his work as developing from a painting-orientated practice incorporating collage and photography to a collage-orientated practice that incorporates photography and paintings as both a means to produce new material and a tool for the realisation of his pieces.
The exhibition itself quickly demonstrates the hybridisation of mediums that characterises Murray’s practice. In the window of Vitrine’s ground floor gallery space ‘Your Staff Love Flowers’, a digital print that harks back to Murray’s previous multiple exposure collages, announces his show with characteristic boldness.
Inside, Murray’s three-dimensional planar paintings are displayed alongside his smaller 'Adieu Vielle Europe' collages, which stem from vintage hand-coloured photographs collected from flea markets around Berlin. In all the works displayed in ‘Please Boss Remember Me’, the gestural paint stroke is visibly present, whether it be realized via painting, print, photography or indeed through multiple processes. Stemming from an exploration into the significance and potential of the abstract mark, Murray both liberates and alienates the paint stroke in his constant redefining of its aesthetic and historical context.
Murray’s work demonstrates the very real struggle with the maintenance and relinquishing of control that sits at the heart of art making.
“I am horrified by my hands and the actions they take” he states, “so I make my work from the actions tangential to them: accidents and omissions. No matter the medium, I prefer to approach its glittering emptiness and be made blind by its brightness or the shadow it casts. By stumbling blindly, more actions are taken, but fewer could be claimed as mine.”
Text by Susie Pentelow.
Wil Murray (b. 1978, Calgary, Canada) studied painting at the Alberta College of Art and Design and currently lives and works in Canada. He has exhibited internationally, including at The National Gallery of Canada, East, Peggy Phelps Galleries (Claremont CA) and Staatsgalerie Prenzlauer Berg (Berlin). Amongst others, he has had solo shows at Vitrine Bermondsey Square, London; P|M Gallery, Toronto; Library Cote-St. Luc, Montreal; Staatsgalerie Prenzlauer Berg, Berlin; and Patrick Mikhail Gallery, Ottawa. He received an honourable mention in the prestigious RBC Canadian Painting Competition for his painting "Sexe Maniac Maniac Maniac Maniac Maniac" and his work was also featured in the Museum of Contemporary Canadian Art’s exhibition for national top-painters 'Carte Blanche Vol. 2', 2008. His work has recently been exhibited in group shows at The Hole, New York; Galerie De L’Uqam in Montréal, Québec; Gymnasia Herzliya, Tel-Aviv, Israel and Rene Blouin Gallery, Montreal. Murray has also played in several notoriously loud and short-spoken experimental bands.