Portico Featured Artist: Thomas Murray

Seated Goddess

We are proud to announce the Portico’s Community Hall new featured artist, Thomas Murray. Artistically trained in Florida and New Mexico, Thomas grew up with St. Petersburg’s Salvador Dali Museum as inspiration. His work wanders between photo-realism and abstraction of patterns from various cultures. Speaking of cultures, he studies each year in Florence, Italy for a couple weeks at a time, even enjoying an artist’s residency in Asissi one time. When speaking about his profession, he said…

“The role of an artist must include a conscience.  The need to say something, to offer a viewpoint for consideration is almost primal and also necessary.  Works in sound and video add new dimensions to my pursuit, empowering the exploration of form. Investigating fixed ego identities allows me to add unforeseen dimensions to my research and exploration of both idea and form.  I believe an artist constantly seeks to unveil not only personal truths, but also the same truths that create what I perceive as the heliotropic nature of existence. Each new work mines a slightly new exploration or a miniscule facsimile of this nature.”

For this exhibit, Murray is following the way he’s grown and changed over ten years. The following is his exhibit’s statement:

Landscapes, flora and fauna are heliotropes.  Heliotropes are interesting ubiquitous verities found in nature.  Like heliotropes, human truths, the ultimate story of our lives are also attracted to whatever feeds and nurtures us.  This phenomenon is beyond a natural law; it is the inexplicable shape of our existence.

It is also my code.  A heliotropes’ path is the code I embrace while exploring with media, form, and paint.

In my work patterns, layering, flowers, plants and figuration are metaphors for these blueprints of existence.  The work itself is a result of an internal heliotrope following the transformation of a painting, drawing, sound installation, photograph, performance or collaboration through the process not unlike the phenomenon of natural laws.  I approach process like a “code”, as a “personal paradigm”, or descriptor of time and as a vehicle of evolution. Similarly the garden metaphor works as an expression of this code, a meditation on color events, focus and subjugation, air as breath and complexity as mystery.  Finally the heliotrope is the expression of transformation, variation and a node where individual heliotropic identities collide and intersect.

The desire to make an image is a practice that helps me to describe our world.  Interpersonal relations and our place on this planet are sacred yet also profane.  My work is an expression of both, but one filtered through my experience. I understand while defining through imagery, the very act of defining is a convergent process, one that is ultimately limiting.  Human experience teeters between the definitions of clarity and the abstractness of experience. Our interactions are not unlike layers of heliotrope patterns that interrelate and resonate but are mutable, changeable and at times converge and others diverge, but they are always entwined within complex configurations.

Color and space are important.  Color is also heliotropic. A painting changes in the way nature changes.  Color is responsive. It is much more important to respond than react. In art that favors concept, elements are also often responsive but occasionally reactive to current political and social ideologies that are embedded in the work.

In his downtime, you can find Murray teaching, interacting with our artists, writing and playing music. Check out Thomas Murray’s exhibit at the Portico Community Hall from January through March.  Take a look at more of his work here.

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