John MurphySilence '... augural abscence of a voice which fascinates and ...' 1980

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Artwork details

Artist
John Murphy (born 1945)
Title
Silence '... augural abscence of a voice which fascinates and ...'
Date 1980
MediumWatercolour and ink on paper
Dimensionssupport: 819 x 695 mm
Collection
Tate
Acquisition Purchased 1982
Reference
T03345
Not on display

Catalogue entry

T03345 SILENCE '...AUGURAL ABSENCE OF A VOICE WHICH FASCINATES AND ...’ 1980

Inscribed ‘J.M.80’ bottom right
Watercolour, pen and ink on paper, 32 1/4 × 27 3/8 (82 × 69.5)
Purchased from the artist (Grant-in-Aid)1982

Two [T03345 and T03346] from a series of six watercolours which Murphy made between 1980–1.

The titles, which are handwritten on the works, both concern absence or loss and the melancholy tone of these ruptured sentences is echoed in the cloud-like paintings which suggest the unattainable, a void. In an unpublished article, ‘On Contemplating the Night Sky’ the artist and critic Jon Thompson has isolated ‘the obscuring quality of language’ and ‘the compelling desire to reach beyond it’ as a central theme in Murphy's work and has related the watercolours to this theme: 'Here again he employed the written device for fracture “...” and with even more telling effect: (‘Silence “...augural absence of a voice which fascinates”’/‘Sadness “..… (read more)

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