The paintings of Mary K. Murphy, the next solo exhibit at Gallery 72 in April, are windows into the world of her personal experience, but these windows are not transparent. Instead, they are clouded with colored shapes that frequently coalesce into odd figures, such as the haunting face that stares out of “Sensation (Apple).”
In other works, the shapes float on the surface of the canvas with a poignancy that recalls Helen Frankenthaler, or cascade down it in loops and biomorphic forms that have the buoyancy of late de Kooning.
The fact that Murphy tends to paint on linen rather than canvas heightens the emotional quality of the images by softening their edges. She also has a remarkably confident sense of color that allows her to use pastels where other artists might feel compelled to go for something more bold.
Murphy has spoken of her desire to “activate the rectangle” of the painting and create works that, while they emerge from her own experience, end up enabling the view to have an experience of his or her own. Murphy’s show “Fascination” will be on view at Gallery 72, 1806 Vinton Street, from April 17 to May 16.