Haunted with ghostly shapes and a sense of eeriness, the new oil paintings and watercolours of acclaimed Irish artist Ciarán Murphy (b.1978) are on display at the Taymour Grahne Gallery until 22 January. Marking the artist’s first exhibition in New York, this show promises a playful experimentation with the uneasy and dislocating, leaving the viewer on unsteady ground, never quite “at home” with the surroundings they find themselves in.
Enigmatic and provoking, Murphy’s paintings take their starting point from a wide-ranging and ever-growing archive of found images, collected and carefully arranged into categories by the artist over the years. Then transformed through a process of editing, erasing, overwriting or simply replacing what has been painted and unpainted, the art grabs onto an unfamiliarity and revels in its own uniqueness and obscurity, never resembling a definite thing or a loss or absence.
The exhibition moves through the years and Murphy’s subjects become increasingly elusive, shifting from the recognisable forms of his earlier work to indeterminate shapes. Drawing on both abstract and representational imagery, the artist examines the ambiguities inherent to visual perception through the creation of liminal spaces and states of flux, straddling absence and presence. Accruing a sense of the uneasy the more the viewer experiences his work, this foray into the “uncanny” makes Murphy’s oeuvre a parade of spectral, unsettling images.
Ciarán Murphy: A Round Now, until 22 January, Taymour Grahne Gallery, 157 Hudson Street, New York, NY 10013.
1. A Round Now, installation view, Ciarán Murphy.