John Philip Murray

About 'Aspiration'

Aspiration New Paintings

These paintings have their origins in old Roman mosaics that I saw while on a family holiday in Tunisia in 1995. The idea of piecing small bits of colour together to make images had always appealed to me. But, seeing the resonance created by the dull reds, greens, browns and blues, set against a background of pale ochres, I had a deeper sense of what I needed to explore using colour.

I have been using a mosaic format in my paintings, to a greater or lesser degree, since then. I start by slowly building up a backdrop of irregular squares and rectangles, smoothing some surfaces, leaving others rough; until I feel that overall, the surface works together. At this point I can add other element(s), -usually human forms.

Onto the heavily worked surface, I paint on and scrape off and paint on again, the vague image of a human head or bust. I want these mysterious faces to recede into the picture, but I need them to emerge from the mist, if we want to go searching for them.

That is the concise version. In the longer version we can find anonymous people being celebrated for their very ordinariness. We can look for mathematical harmonies in the structures of the mosaic patterns. We can look at the relationship between various colours, chosen to sit beside one another. We can examine the pictures under formal headings, but, to look at the works on any or all of these levels is a choice that we make for ourselves.

There is no set text.

Be suspicious of words written about paintings.

John Philip Murray 18th October 2001


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Aspiration, New Paintings

Words about 'Aspiration'

After the work is done ....