Review: Concussion Series 

A review of Katrina Murray's new work at CCIC

click to enlarge trees_murray.jpg

4 stars

Late in April 2015, Katrina Murray suffered a brain injury in a car accident, an injury that rendered her unable — initially — to create art. Murray's work as a painter varies widely. Widely, but not wildly, because there's a grand unification theory, as it were, apparent in her work. Her subjects range from dead-on representational portraiture and landscape (albeit with strange, subdued palettes) to the interplay of electrons at the subatomic level.

This latter subject, given full expression in her 2014 series, "Particle Physics," might be described as abstract and/or expressionistic. On the other hand, there's no way to know for sure that things actually look at that level. Unless you paint happy faces on your electrons and protons, things are pretty much bound to look abstract.

Beyond a certain advanced point in physics, research becomes so speculative that the language of mathematics can no longer contain it. At that point, physics becomes as much an art as a science.

Yet Murray's work suggests that things can work the opposite way for artists. There is science — in the sense of color theory, in the sense of an exploratory mind at work — in her art.

And then there's her sheer willpower to overcome her injury. Take, for example her most recent, "Concussion Series," a series that she completed while recovering. While not yet able to return to oil and canvas, she has been able to create collages.

She writes of this work on her website:

"My efforts turned to magazine pages fed through a paper shredder and a glue stick. The next iteration was mixing and matching images from magazines to make new images. Then I began cutting up old paintings and gluing them with book binding glue to sub-straights made before the accident ... For me art making has always been a catalyst for healing."

"Trees" is a particularly beautiful example of her collage work, where you see color bands of black, blue and red where the soil should be.

Normally, it's enough for me to end a review like this with a poetic image, an image that reflects how the art inspired me. It typically isn't a reviewer's place to go much beyond that. But I'm saddened, frankly, that her work isn't attracting buyers like it should. If there ever were a time to stick my neck out and ask art patrons to support a great local artist, this is it.

Circle City Industrial Complex by

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