chicago

Ciaran Murphy

Kavi Gupta Gallery | Elizabeth St

All twelve paintings Ciaran Murphy showed in his recent solo at Kavi Gupta allude to nature. This was an exhibition of leering monkeys, blasted tree trunks, moonlit hills, hunting hyenas, palm trees, and wafting clouds, through which the artist, in his hesitant and proximate brushwork, offered a wary but wistful disengagement from the natural world. Nature appears to be something that Murphy largely experiences secondhand—there are not a lot of monkeys, hyenas, or palm trees in Dublin, where he lives—and his work seems to acknowledge an inchoate relationship to it, a kind of fissure that can become both suggestive and poignant. His paint handling conveys this coy awkwardness as much as his subject matter does. Murphy paints these mostly small images with a kind of washy and monochromatic indifference that purposefully eschews things like meticulousness and verisimilitude for a brushy and

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