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"No Safety Zone: An Installation by Robert Holland Murray"
2001-10-31 until 2001-12-09
Bishop's University Art Gallery
This assemblage consists of thirty-seven rods of ebonized red oak, which Robert Holland Murray has connected with meticulously carved joints. Wrestling with ambivalent sensations of whether to approach or maintain a safe distance, the viewer is at once seduced and repelled by the dangerous beauty of the structure’s sharpened, weapon-like tips.
The delicate and precarious equilibrium of this wooden constellation seems at odds with its threatening physicality, one of many contradictions that pervade, rendering the act of apprehension complex and compelling. The unsettling impression resulting from conflicting responses to the work is one that the artist fosters, for it is the recognition that dualities and contradictions permeate all objects and ideas that challenge the viewer by preventing simple resolution. Creating an emotionally charged viewing experience, Murray invites us to explore the tensions that disrupt a unified response, for as the artist repeatedly demonstrates, these contradictions serve as the fertile ground for multiple and conflicting significations leading ultimately to the destabilization of commonly held truths.
Murray’s creative journey is one marked by continuous discoveries and is galvanized through the artist’s communion with his sculptural materials. Immersed in the creative cycle of labour, the artist meditates upon and incorporates the teachings that emerge during the course of the artistic process.
A Montreal-based artist, Robert Holland Murray has been teaching in the Fine Arts Department of Concordia University since 1975. Some of his solo exhibitions include Parallax(e) presented at Galerie Oboro,(1995) and Recent Works shown at the Saidye Bronfman Centre for the Arts, Montreal (1999).
Robert Holland Murray would like to thank the Concordia woodshop technicians, Zav Levinson and Robert Bissonette, for the crucial assistance they provided in realizing this project.