American artist Judith Murray has created a trademark language that is abstract and deeply expressive. Oil paintings from early in her career in the 1970s exhibited stark and incisive forms in red, white, yellow and black. The vertical bar down the right-hand edge of the canvas that first appeared in those paintings has become a permanent element in all her work, in effect anchoring the rest of the canvas to the picture’s frame.
Over the years, she has remained faithful to the use of only these four colors, mixing and combining them to produce a seemingly infinite variety of hues. The discipline of restricting her palette has given a kind of subliminal, even invisible, stability to her work. More recently, Murray has been creating large-scale paintings in which mostly short brushstrokes scramble and chase each other in lively patterns across the canvas.
In her latest paintings, scattered among the animated brushstrokes are abstract, eccentric geometric shapes in her basic four colors that combine these multiple compositional components to make a single statement.