Gallery 2

Chance Murray

Rubber Donkey Party
March 6 – April 25

First Fridays, 6 – 10pm 
March 6 + April 3

Download exhibition brochure

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Chance Murray, Local Mom and Pop, or, They Done Sent Old Silver To the Glue Pit, or, Three Studies of a Raccoon

I first met North Carolina artist, Chance Murray last summer at his home studio in Cedar Grove. Over the course of my career, I’ve visited countless artists who work from their basements, attics, or kitchen tables, any place they are able to carve a space to work. Never before had I visited an artist whose entire environment felt so integrated into their practice.The multi-dimensional paintings that Murray makes function as mental snapshots, presenting a distorted interpretation of his surroundings and experiences. The specificity of Murray’s point of view allows his work to function as a sort of contemporary Southern regionalism in which the connective threads of human experience; love, pain, beauty, transition, loss, laughter, the grotesque and the absurd are all amplified. These paintings offer viewers an uncomfortable, but welcome respite from the increasingly manufactured mono-culture in which we reside. For me, the peculiarities of Murray’s world are a comforting reminder of the odd and wonderful aspects of the unsanitized realities that we inhabit.

Murray collects objects and imagery from his family farm, area consignment shops, and local auctions. Taxidermied animals, plywood figures, lights, and humorous text float on top of roughly painted surfaces that evoke interior spaces or generic landscapes. The rough handling of materials, often coated in dripping resin, or slapped-on paint is a stark contrast to the thoughtfully constructed compositions, and carefully built components that he creates. In Local Mom and Pop, or, They Done Sent Old Silver To the Glue Pit, or, Three Studies of a Raccoon, Murray creates an absurd assemblage of images and objects that manages to retain a sense of formal gravitas. A seated, headless figure leans against an old radio while holding a rudimentary gun. Whistler’s Mother, defaced by Kilroy, inhabits the background and a masked raccoon emerges from the face of the radio. Drips of glue, resin, and shiny black paint sully the cozy home interior comprised of a rug, sleeping cat, wallpaper and embroidered kitsch. Despite the number of bizarre elements at play, the painting functions, not as a narrative, but simply the encapsulation of a confounding idea, inhabited by the familiar.

Annah Lee, Director of Artistic Programs

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Chance Murray, Meanwhile…back at the ranch

Rubber Donkey Party contains imagery and text that some viewers may find offensive. The use of foul language, dead animals, nudity, and symbols of violence is intended to push boundaries and create an overall sense of the absurd, providing an exaggerated viewpoint that encourages us to look more closely at the unsanitized realities that we inhabit.

Chance Murray is a Southerner first, and an artist second. Using skills grafted from farming his large scale mixed media works cobble together traditional painting, woodworking and pure redneck engineering, producing vivid and slightly skewed scenes of rural life. These conjured images often come from a place both hard to describe yet somehow familiar, casting the viewer into a crudely altered world. Chance is the recipient of the 2011–2012 Ella Fountain Pratt Emerging Artist award. He lives and works in Cedar Grove, NC.

Sponsored by Northwestern Mutual