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Robert Murray

Robert Murray was born in 1936 in Vancouver, spent his childhood years in Saskatoon, and eventually moved to Regina to attend Regina College. He studied painting and print-making. Although he would eventually be drawn to sculpture as his primary discipline, his time spent working in two dimensions would prove important in shaping his later work as a sculptor.

Murray studied with painters Art McKay and Ken Lochhead, and their influence on his sculptural work can be easily seen, such as sudden and dramatic use of abstraction and the importance placed on geometric form. Further influences on Murray’s practice came from the world of painting (Barnett Newman), as well as that of sculpture (Alexander Calder, David Smith, Anthony Caro), as Murray’s works combine bent metal and bold-coloured, uniform paints.

For over thirty years the sculptural achievements of Robert Murray have received international recognition and acclaim. He is widely admired as one of North America's most distinguished contemporary sculptors for his monumental constructions in steel and aluminum. Murray's expressive abstractions may be experienced in an unmetaphorical way, yet the massive works suggest inner life sensations which might develop in totally unexpected ways.

The freedom, flexibility, and directness of the reductive forms which he typically tilts at odd and often precarious angles exist triumphantly in their own right and on their own terms. The complex orchestration and network of internal relationships between angles, lines of directions, masses, shapes, colours, and textures animates and articulates the surrounding space.

As a former painter, Murray's use of paint on the surface of his sculpture is superb. His interest in reflective light on the sculptural surface resulted in colour serving to unify the formal elements of his work.*

Murray has been awarded one-person exhibitions at the Dayton Art Institute, the Delaware Art Museum, the Reading Public Museum, Rice University, and Muhlenberg College and has participated in numerous group shows. Works by Murray are in collections at the Metropolitan Museum of Art, the Whitney Museum of American Art, Columbus Museum of Art, the Hirshhorn Museum and Sculpture Garden, the Montreal Museum of Art, the National Gallery of Canada, Storm King Art Center, the Walker Art Center and many university campuses in North America.