Do the Dance, base layer
WORK IN PROGRESS. Baselayer acrylic and metallic on canvas 3x4’
“DO THE DANCE, After Murray.”
I don’t have formal art training, but I always watch and read a lot of content about painting and go to galleries and museums as much as I can. Never once in my life have I ever been pulled into an abstract piece of work. I assumed this was a shortfall I’d just have to accept.
It wasn’t until a few weeks ago I quite randomly stumbled into a very old article in the New York Times critique of Elizabeth Murray’s “Do the Dance.”
The author describes this “as a late painting, made in 2005 after she had received the diagnosis of the brain cancer that would kill her two years later at age 66. It’s made of five separate canvases. In the lower left corner there’s a Gumby figure as a patient, attached to an IV. Above this is.a series of round canvases that are connected by a blue laddered line that might be a spinal column or row of sutures. On the right side are two biomorphic shapes yellow and lavender that occupy their own canvases, forming a couple struggling to stay connected.”
And the next part of the article, this is what I haven’t been able to get out of my head. Maybe because the whole thing struck a nerve with imagery of ill patients I am sadly too familiar with as a nurse practitioner in tandem with the life of a painter who told her story in her work the whole way through. I don’t know, but it resonated on a level I didn’t expect:
“At the bottom of it all, in the form of a long blue squiggle, lie the waters of Manhattan. “Do the Dance,” Murray tells us, when the end is near. The dance is life. And life, for her, was painting.”
I can’t wait to see this one.
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