T03342 DELTA 1978–9
Inscribed ‘J.M. 78–79’ on reverse
Oil on canvas, 24 × 23 (61 × 58.4)
Purchased from the artist (Grant-in-Aid) 1982
Exh: Desire not Geometry, an Exhibition of Work by John Murphy, Barry Barker Gallery, February–March 1979 (no catalogue); John Murphy, Arts Council Gallery, Belfast, May–June 1981 (no catalogue, repr.in colour on folded card); Through the Summer, Lisson Gallery, July–September 1981 (no catalogue)
Lit: ‘John Murphy, Interview by Jon Thompson’, Aspects, no.9, Winter 1979–80, n.p., repr.
This painting shows five columns of symbols, each headed by a capital letter, which together spell the word DELTA. Beneath the capitals, the first four columns present twenty paleolithic symbols for the female genitalia; in the fifth column are four more general symbols representing the feminine principle. Each symbol was first drawn in charcoal on unprimed canvas and afterwards in cadmium red oil paint-a colour chosen because it is used for the rendering of female symbols in paleolithic art…