Studio Sunday: Elizabeth Murray

A photo of Elizabeth Murray in her studio


Elizabeth Murray was a Chicago-based artist who was active in the American contemporary art scene throughout the 1970’s, 80’s, and 90’s. She was best known for abstract paintings that evoked the suggestion of figures, and for painting of bizarrely shaped canvases.


I’m taken by how colorful Elizabeth Murray’s studio looks in this photo – though the walls and floor are the same white hue as many artist’s studios, the artist’s works and supplies lend it a fun atmosphere. Murray seems to have a good number of smallish works affixed to the wall of her studio with tape – I’m unsure if these are works in progress or just sketches for a larger final project, but either way they have a charming aesthetic to them.


It seems that the artist frequently worked in a similar fashion to artists like Ida Applebroog, painting on works that are taped or somehow affixed to the wall, rather than using an easel in the middle of the room. It’s an interesting technique – one that seems like it might be rather restrictive. It seemed to work just fine for Murray.


It’s always fun to see artist studios where the artist seems to possess every size and shape of brush under the sun, and Murray here is no exception. The table that the artist is pictured standing at holds several cups of brushes that look well-used, a testament to the artist’s prolific practice.


Murray lives on as a prominent figure in art world feminism, being of only five female artists to have had a solo retrospective at the Museum of Modern Art in New York. She also worked as a curator throughout her career, and was known for exhibiting works by other women.

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Written by: Dallas Jeffs
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