Robert Murray’s sculpture stands as a transformational monument on the visage of Canadian art and functions as an essential and reformative element within the language of the quintessential Canadian landscape. Robert Murray, Canada’s foremost contemporary abstract sculptor is known for transforming the undulating, vast, and untamed terrain into bold, commanding, monumental geometric abstract metal sculptures that captivate the viewers with their robust form and evocative qualities.
Murray's early exposure to the works of abstract artists in Regina, coupled with his experience in the Canadian Air Force during his formative years planted the seeds that would eventually lead him to work with metal. But it was his incredible lifelong friendship with Barnett Newman that allowed his interest in abstraction to take root and blossom. In Murray's hands, metal becomes a malleable and expressive material, capable of embodying the rhythms, textures, and shapes of the landscape, the works are often characterized by sweeping curves, intricate folds, and interlocking forms that suggest the dynamic and organic qualities of the natural world.
For Robert Murray, art is also closely aligned with architecture. His monumental sculptures of dynamic design and luscious colour are often seen in grand architectural company, such as I.M. Pei’s Everson Museum of Art in Syracuse and Kallmann, McKinnell, and Knowles’s Boston City Hall. The Government of Canada commissioned Murray for two major works, Tundra and Haida, in the 1970s for important government buildings. His sculptures have been installed in a variety of locations, from urban plazas to rural fields, and are dynamic and interactive components of the spaces they inhabit, reforming the landscape in the process.
With a career spanning seven decades, Robert Murray is active and thriving, producing ambitious sculptures that are to influence generations. The National Gallery of Canada organized Murray’s retrospective in 1999, and his work is represented and exhibited in some of the world's most prestigious collections, including The Metropolitan Museum of Art, Museum of Modern Art, Whitney Museum of American Art, The Jewish Museum in New York, Storm King Art Centre, Walker Art Center, Hirshhorn Museum and Sculpture Garden, Art Gallery of Ontario, Vancouver Art Gallery, and many other important public and private institutions. This exhibition features important works ranging from maquettes for public projects to personal wall reliefs and provides the Canadian West Coast audience an exceptional opportunity to experience a magnificent body of work that is not easily accessible.
Robert Murray: Between Earth and Sky
July 10, 2023