Jonathan Murphy’s (b.1980) practice assumes the vernacular language of traditional painting, sculpture and photographic techniques to generate a mise-en-scène type space where imagery is made and tested. His work engages with several notions of place, memory and spectatorship. The wall-based photographic prints he is currently making set in motion an evolving narrative space; the concerns of which, among other things, are the changing register of sculptural perception. The artist is editor of the online fanzine Nada/Da. He studied painting at The Slade School of Fine Art between 2000–2004 and lives and works in London.
Pay attention to the drag of the studio floor when you should float. Protruding nails catch and nip at canvas when it’s pulled across, knees avoid splints when kneeling to lay out paper. The studio plays a central role in my practice, the activities that occur here radiate from it like spokes in a wheel. If a process doesn’t work here… I say, like the time I made a picture frame in plaster and it broke, and so was stacked on a jaunty plinth in my previous Camberwell studio, left to make a footprint in the dust and only seen by the documentary lens … then it crops-up over there. The misses of making are stockpiled and left to re-form as something else. They are joined by others and can, sometimes, form unintended familial constellations. They also gather a physical cadence and acceptance — this is more to do with me than it is with them.
Re-staging and painting
The dilemma of re-staging: how to do it for real, or real again in some kind of re-performance. When I try to make paintings — which is what I mainly do these days — the question of re-performance is primarily located on the canvas plane and within the stretcher boundary; how to do the same again but differently. Using a palette knife, I scrape back the recent attempts at balancing illusionary form with the physical presence of paint. The leftover marks, scrapes and stains form the foundations for further periods of painting and removal.