MacMurray’s work places the viewer within a world of powerful dualities – desire and indifference; love and loss; fragility and power; memento mori and celebration; the ephemeral and the visceral; the Apollonian and the Dionysian. The ambiguities and tensions within these opposing elements are remarkably poignant and evocative conditions of her work.
"MacMurray executes work brilliantly by hand: her ability to ‘play’ the materials and seduce the audience – like the classical musician she was before becoming an artist – is another hallmark of her practice. There is a fine sensitivity to concept, material and pitch, the works resonating and humming in air just prior to settling." (1) "She scrutinises and selects an object for its aesthetic value and symbolic potential. Her love of materials may initially draw her to the physical properties of an object, yet it is its history and associations as a functioning object that are central to her consideration." (2) MacMurrray harvests and transforms the stuff of daily existence – latex gloves, rubber hosing, hairnets, violin bow-strings, cling film, fishhooks, pins, wax, and wire.
The exhibition includes MacMurray’s large-scale, exquisitely rendered drawings; images of delicate, insubstantial objects – hairnets, shredded bits of gauze – suspended, like music, in an ether of their own.
Along with her sculpture and drawings, "MacMurray seeks opportunities to respond to historic sites, sensitively introducing objects to amplify layers of past activity or presence. She effectively marries the qualities of a given place with ideas and artifacts being investigated in her studio." (3) In “Echo” (2006), York St Mary's, MacMurray incorporated "used bow-hair with 10,000 hairnets, creating a floating cloud to reflect the atmospheric essence of this spectacular ecclesiastic architecture." (4) And in “Shell” MacMurray "allows us over 20,000 prised opened mussel shells, each crow-black, with an oily sheen, each a tiny death, a petit mort, and each stuffed with a deep burnt-red scrap of silk velvet. Each shell beats with sensual energy, but - like butterflies on pins - each is a redundant flag of love, beating out a dying rhythm in regulated ranks on a wall. They are as sublime as they are sinister...." (5)
Formerly a professional musician, MacMurray returned to school to study art at Manchester Metropolitan University and graduated with a Masters degree in Fine Art in 2001. Since then, she has achieved international status and has been exhibited widely in galleries and museums. She has also undertaken a number of site-specific installations in various historic locations in the United Kingdom and Europe. Susie MacMurray lives and works in Manchester, UK.
The exhibition is presented in association with Gina Agnew Contemporary, London.
For further information, please contact Carol Corey or Jillian Brodie at 212-223-2227 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
(1) Harper, Dr. Catherine. “Network,” in Selvedge Feature, December 2008.
(2) Lucas, Annabel. “Sound Relics” in Tempus Mutatum (time/change), Notingham: Nottingham Castle Museum & Gallery, 2009.
(4) Lucas ,”Sound Relics.”
(5) Harper, Dr. Catherine. Shell. Chichester, UK: Pallant House Gallery, 2006.