Artist Profile: Melissa Murray
My work focuses on the idea of freezing an active moment of thought. Walking the daily line, events occur that shift our paths in drastic ways, creating a pattern of personalized images that are swiftly tucked away in our subconscious. Some memories hold tight to the insides of eyelids as others find a translucent wall to blend with, harder to find as the mind demands that they show themselves. I maintain a studio practice where my thoughts are bombarded with a successive rotation of images, the clusters begin to gather into a pattern through which a metaphor and visual narrative is born. By focusing on the presented theme, patterns, colors and shifts in space begin to narrate my compositions. I rely on a stream of conscious to present me with an honest story, making each of my works a collection of coded memories quieted yet clarified by capturing the slightest moment in thought.
In my current series of works on paper, ‘an emptiness’, I draw structural inspiration from an 18th century house on Cape Cod. This house exists on the receiving end of a time warp through the original floors, walls and windows, enveloping modern times in a moment of antiquity. Looking through the wavy antique windows one can ponder the eyes of the past and the distorted world they saw beyond. For me, this house creates a pocket in space, a place where time is left unattended and where the all encompassing walls give momentum to stories of past lives. The home is nestled in the crook of Bass River. There is a wildness, a cold haunted saltiness that hangs in the pines, stalled and intensified by the changing tides. No modern electricity, no comforts of modern life. Yet there is no rival to the color of the sky, the creature rich depth of the sea and forests, or the beauty inherent in the peeling of 300 year old wallpaper. The old house gives me a space to store a narrative, a theoretical place to secure thoughts and objects until they make sense as a whole.
I am inspired by a quelling of chaos through a combination of contrasting ideas and objects that in turn quiet the scene. To take active moments and make them comfortable in stillness, a taxidermied life. Animals speak loudly through my stream of conscious process as they hold tight to an honesty in their nature and characteristics, fully lending themselves to a metaphorical critique on human actions. Placing them within the unnatural setting of the house they become more of a thought rather than a realistic depiction. As the series progresses they are becoming more abstract in their representation; scribbles, outlines filled with pattern or the absence all together visualized through remnants of their passing.
The image projected in a finished piece is one of contemplation, not clarity. There is an uneasiness in the layering of thoughts and the meshing of ideas like multiple strange dreams explained at once. The spaces shift planes and the scene explores both the ideas of expanse and tightness, elaborating on my own fears of the freedom of motion and the anxiety of being still. Windows maintain an allegorical stance on inner and outer projections, distant blocked desires and reflections of a distorted reality outside arms reach.