San Francisco

Shirley Rousseau-Murphey

Richmond Art Center

This artist works around a predominantly pictorial idea, drawing out large, vigorous forms of welded junk metal in a shallow relief space. Even her free-standing pieces are planar, with diagonal (Growth Thought) or angular (Bird Bath) thrusts that minimize both volume and mass. Rousseau-Murphey does not, however, strain after the pretty effects that so often are corollary to an interest in surface; textural manipulation is kept at a minimum and, even when an occasional jagged chunk of melted glass is set in contrast to a rusted metal surface, the effect is not overly decorative. Her imagery is varied. Totem, for example, is a vertical arrangement of horizontal members with the usual a la Picasso allusions to facial features. Less programmatic and more successful are the series Tide Pool and Growth Thought in which dynamic movements rather than organic shapes are the bearers of expression.

Betty Breckenridge