Elizabeth Murray’s art from the late 1970s forward was fueled by a desire to reinvigorate the medium of painting, which she (and other painters) feared had been depleted by minimalism’s insistence on hermetic, self-referential formalism. A foil by design to minimalist ideals, Sunshine is a hybrid creature, both a painting and a sculpture, abstract as well as illusionistic. The work appears to throb and morph with a vitality that cannot be contained by a traditional, regularly shaped canvas. Instead, Murray has constructed multiple and inventively sculpted canvases, which overlap and interlock in ways that reveal her admiration of Cubism. The composition’s various parts are furthermore linked like interdependent bodily organs by an undulating vein-like form that courses throughout. The title alludes undoubtedly to the yellow orb at the top of the composition, which suggests a sun glowing in a bright blue sky.
Sunshine’s distinctive colors and forms characterize the work of Elizabeth Murray, the important postmodernist abstract artist known for her biomorphic, spontaneous, and unwieldy forms. This painting came to Amherst in 2006, the generous gift Ronald F. Daitz, Class of 1961, and his wife, Linda, on the occasion of Mr. Daitz’s 45th reunion.
EEB, 2008: 1821 Society brochure