Catherine Murphy, Snowflakes, 2011, oil on canvas, 52 x 52".

Catherine Murphy

Peter Freeman, Inc.

Catherine Murphy, Snowflakes, 2011, oil on canvas, 52 x 52".

Peter Freeman’s new SoHo digs are high-ceilinged and capacious, and this inaugural exhibition of recent paintings and drawings by Catherine Murphy, her first with the gallery, afforded the work ample breathing room. Still, one is never quite sure where to stand or, more precisely, where one stands in an encounter with Murphy’s close-cropped, meticulously realist, bigger-than-life renderings of humdrum things and scenes. They admit only to rebuff, aping the usual vantages of perception just to implode under multiple, irreconcilable perspectives, and intimating depth in impossible tandem with attention to surface. Take Polka Dotted Dress, 2009, in which the titular object, draped over the end of a bed, is at once parallel and perpendicular to the picture plane, while an insistent frontality gives the lie to depicted recession.

Such perceptual antics, which have grown ever more

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