“Mommy, do you know what that is? It’s a girl, holding an umbrella, trying to open it in the wind and the rain. And see that patch of blue in the corner? That’s the rain. It’s coming!” This was said to me, quite out of the blue, by our six year old son in October 2017. “Is it?”, I responded. “Yes, it is”, he answered with absolute certainty along with a healthy mix of just-so-you-know attitude. I stared for a while but couldn’t see what he could. That is the crux of abstract art in general and Chris’ work in particular. There are an infinite number of possible shapes and images in one of his works, and there is no “right” one. Everyone who looks at one of his pieces has a unique experience, even if they come to similar conclusions. In a figurative painting of, say, a tree, a person can look and admire it. It may remind them of a favorite childhood tree or of the beauty of nature. But Chris’ work involves more direct involvement since the viewer must actually decide what they are looking at. It doesn’t even have to be an object; it could be something like anger or happiness. It’s collaborative, an experience with the artist. It’s a small journey, one worth going on again and again. Some of his works have been hanging in our house for years and I am still finding bits that I’ve never noticed before. The work hasn’t changed, my perspective on it has. Amazing.
Below is the painting, “The Red Dress”. It is absolutely one of my favorites.
I found this excellent blog about understanding the purpose and concept behind abstract art. Its helpful for me to read and view abstract art through history to get some perspective on what I am trying to accomplish with my own work.
Abstract art can be challenging to the viewer. For some it is unsettling and confusing. For me it is exhilarating. I don’t feel a since of dread as some might. When I view an abstract painting that inspires me I embrace the unknown and revel in it’s bold complacency.
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Christopher Murphy will be attending the festival this year as a representative of the Charleston Artist Collective. He will be exhibiting his artwork as well as demonstrating his painting process from 12 – 4 at the Cistern.
Charleston’s vibrant arts scene can be a bit overwhelming — it’s hard to keep track of all the groups, theater companies, and cultural organizations that make their home here. That’s part of why the Charleston Regional Alliance for the Arts hosts the OPEN Arts Festival, which brings them all together under one roof (make that sky — it’s held outside). “OPEN is the kickoff to the fall arts season in our community and celebrates local talent and creativity in a fun way open to everyone,” says Maggie Hendricks, executive director for the Charleston Regional Alliance for the Arts. More than three dozen organizations will attend, including local museums, art schools, and libraries, and there will also be live performances by musicians, actors, and storytellers. “We want people who have never had the opportunity or for whatever reason haven’t participated in the arts to come to OPEN, learn about our diverse arts community, and feel welcome to enjoy and support the arts throughout the year,” says Hendricks. —Corinne Boyer