With the aid of digital deconstruction and recombination, peony blossoms in recent works have become a tool for bridging plant life with seemingly disparate cosmological phenomena such as dark energy, gravitational lensing, and the cosmic microwave background radiation. They are images meant to help us acknowledge that which resides outside our everyday field of reference—the observable world yet beyond our threshold of awareness—even as we return to the familiarity of the garden.
Rooted in ancient art and still prevalent today, depictions of blossoms, blooms, and other botanical elements can be found in many of the most significant art movements. There’s no way you can evade the emotive inspiration that comes from flowers. For centuries, humans have exchanged flowers as an expression of the entire emotional range, from “I love you” to “I’m sorry.” In a sophisticated language of color and form, these works by Greg Murr are ephemeral and emotional, with their poetic symbolism rubbing against the mechanisms of value, history, and trade.
Murr renders the grace of nature perhaps more beautifully than any other contemporary artist. Each flower petal is embued with the translucent, seemingly breathing, vitality of nature. In Murr’s blooms, each petal is rendered in delicate and exquisite transparency, giving the impression of an x-ray or film negative and suggesting the fleeting nature of beauty. When one gives the work the time and attention it deserves, flower petals that first appear grey or white come to life with the pale colors of nature, and the viewer begins to “see into” the image, where nature’s pinks, blues, and other gorgeous hues emerge.
Greg Murr is an artist with incredible museum and exhibition credentials. He earned his BA and MFA in the United States and was immediately recognized by major museum curators. In fact, the Whitney Museum of American Art in New York acquired a selection of Murr’s works for its permanent collection when Murr was only one or two years past his graduate program in Fine Art. Murr then went on to live and teach art in Venice, Italy. Later, he relocated to Berlin, Germany, where he works today, though his art is exhibited throughout the world.
Work in the exhibition may be viewed here.
ABOUT GREG MURR
Greg Murr attended the University of New Mexico, where he received his Master's Degree in Visual Art. He has taught art in Venice, Italy, and currently lives and works in Berlin, Germany. His works are included in the permanent collection of the Whitney Museum of Art, among others.
Murr's CV can be found here.
I’m fascinated by the notion that so much of the observable world exists outside our scope of everyday awareness yet remains within the limits of our sense of perception. At any given moment, phenomena are at play all around us, shaping our surroundings and the parameters of our existence, whether acknowledged, presumed or missed altogether. Physical laws, fluid dynamics, patterns of growth in nature, and even the sociological and economic models that govern our lives—together, such frameworks define our reality. I make artwork to look at the aesthetics and implications of these unseen structures shaping our consciousness and providing us a means of navigating our environment, often without our recognition.
In 2008, I began making pictures of dogs with their noses to the ground, relying upon instincts to guide them. Depicted among tangled pearls or fashion’s latest high-heels, the dogs find themselves amidst a material elite’s accoutrements. The recontextualization endows them with a peculiar new level of cognizance; they now fulfill the role of surrogate humanity, ever reminding us of the animal beings that we are. Here, our extravagances and luxury goods may paradoxically illuminate the animal essence we have for so long aspired to transcend. In what ways do we pronounce our mastery over primary needs, or the fundamental issues of survival and security? And how shall we define ourselves and make meaning of our lives, apart from invoking a host of consumer products, brands and services? What exactly is our genuine behavior? In response to such questions, these pictures challenge us to evaluate human nature as animal, and encourage us to think further about the motivations guiding us in all that we do.