All the Words Have Been Spoken, an exhibition of new abstract sculptures by
Houston artist Steve Murphy, will be on display September 10 through October
15 at William Campbell Contemporary Art. An opening reception will be held on
FWADA's Fall Gallery Night, Saturday, September 10, from noon to 9:00 p.m. The
show will feature Murphy's austere yet richly voluminous three-dimensional
forms that radiate energy and challenge visual perceptions.
All the Words Have Been Spoken will include fifteen new sculptures, both
wall-mounted and freestanding-the largest of which measures seven feet tall.
With an assortment of sumptuous patinaed surfaces coated in hand-burnished
steel, lead, or gold, Murphy's non-referential pieces evoke modernist, even
futuristic, tones with bold geometry that flows effortlessly from angle to
angle. The lustrous veneers are sometimes ambiguous, conjuring an organic
softness that belies their industrial origins. Many of the pieces are positioned
in such a way as to stimulate visual tension as well. They lean, rock, or
teeter on the brink, offset just enough to activate their potential energy. This
play on perspective and movement encourages viewers to consider the physicality
of each form.
Murphy's process is multifaceted and meticulous, and involves painstaking
attention to detail at every turn. Lead and gold pieces begin with wood forms
that Murphy has hand constructed, shaped, and sanded to create absolute, smooth
surfaces. He then coats the pieces with sheets of metal, again smoothing and
polishing the outer layers by hand to create the sleek exteriors. Steel pieces
are fabricated at the outset, but also hand-manipulated by the artist at the
end of the process. In each case, the result is a deep, luminescent finish that
absorbs and reflects light to energize and shape the surrounding space.
Murphy's sculptures invariably reference his earlier works, as they embody the
ongoing evolution of his creative vision. "I am dealing with the classic
elements of sculpture: form, volume, surface, and edge. This current, nine-year
body of work is the result of a continued reductive investigation of those
sculptural elements," he says. As the show's title suggests, the sculptures
possess a certain minimalist quality-not in process or theory, but in terms of
a focus on fundamental structure and conceptual objectivity. As such, they
engage viewers on a universal level.
"I want the viewer to bring their personal references to the work and find their
unique connection to the pieces," Murphy remarks. "I want the pieces to allow
the viewer to slowdown, have a quiet, meditative experience when contemplating
these works, and hopefully walk away with a fresh way of seeing and experiencing
the world around them."
ABOUT THE ARTIST
A highly acclaimed Texas artist, Steve Murphy has exhibited work widely around
the state for well over three decades. Notable venues include the Arlington
Museum of Art, the Art Museum of South Texas in Houston, the Austin Museum of
Art, Dallas Visual Arts Center, Fort Worth Community Arts Center, Galveston Arts
Center, the University of Texas at Arlington, the Texas Capitol Building, and
galleries in Houston, Tucson, and Santa Fe, to name a few. The Art Museum of
Southeast Texas in Beaumont will mount a solo exhibition of his work this
Murphy's public art creations have been realized throughout Houston, and his
sculptures can be found in the collections of various institutions and corporations,
including the City of Houston, the University of Houston, the University of
Arizona, Encana Corporation in Plano, and Noble Energy and Sysco Corporation,
both in Houston. His work has appeared in various publications as well, among
them Art Lies, Sculpture magazine, the Houston Chronicle, the Houston Post,
San Antonio Express, and Fort Worth's Star-Telegram. He was recently featured
in the books Contemporary Art of the Southwest (2014) and Texas Abstract:
Steve Murphy earned his Bachelor of Arts degree from the University of Houston.