In 2017 Jan Murray returned to Phasmid Studios to further research her enduring exploration of the traditions of tromp I’oeil and her investigation of the ‘anatomy’ of painting – specifically the relationship between the intrinsic and extrinsic architecture of the two dimensional canvas and the wall on which it hangs.
Developing on from a body of work begun at Phasmid in her 2016 residency, Jan continued to focus on architectural elements (vents and grilles) but also introduced other functional elements such as chutes and utility cupboards. These highly representational paintings were mainly sourced and faithfully modeled on examples of architectural features taken from Studio 5 at Phasmid and its immediate surrounds but also from various buildings in Berlin and Melbourne.
Largely realized in 1:1 scale these small, intimate paintings masquerade as unassuming functional elements, creating a subtle, yet insistent intervention in the space as they merge into their architectural surrounds. The chutes and utility cupboards represented with their doors and openings slightly ajar invite us to contemplate the worlds hidden within the painted surfaces as well as offering access to the internal architecture/ lived history of the building, – elevating the mundane into the mysterious. Another series of paintings, imaging shuttered windows from the neighbouring housing estate, similarly creates intrigue about the interior realities of these domestic residences while simultaneously bringing Jan’s view from the window into the studio.
Far more than mere quotation, this work encourages us to re-think our engagement with the architecture of spaces, to notice essential functional elements that are normally not ‘ considered or seen’ and to engage with processes of looking, perception and representation.
This residency is generously supported by a Special Study Program (Long), VCA & MCM Faculty Research Grant, the University of Melbourne.