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A Gaze Between Four Walls

Eileen Murray

June 22 @ 10:00 am - August 25 @ 4:00 pm

Closed Mondays

Eileen Murray’s paintings and ceramics flirt with the line between fine art and decoration, using both trending and vintage colours, patterns, and objects that evoke the quotidian, the nostalgic, and the ritual aspects of domestic space. The idea of home is a charged concept – for some they are spaces of refuge and productivity, for others they are places of violence and confinement. Murray began exploring these multiple readings of home in her early artistic practice using photography, painting, and sculpture to depict interior domestic scenes that denied the viewer access into space. Using visual disruptions such as veils, blurring, abstraction, and perspectival manipulations, she manifested ideas of intrusion, belonging, secrecy, and self-protection. Later, while pursuing her master’s degree at the University of Saskatchewan she began making larger, more elaborate, paintings reminiscent of theatrical backdrops. Two of these paintings bookend the exhibition, A Gaze Between Four Walls, creating a mise-en-scene for the viewer’s entry into the illusionistic space of the paintings. These paintings play heavily on baroque painting traditions of theatricality, bravado, and material excess.

Murray is interested in depictions of the home found in advertising, television, and social media. She notes “consumer culture sells an image of home as a place of harmony and family life, where happy memories and boundless imagination are promised through designer goods and curated spaces that evoke feelings of nostalgia and quaintness mixed with luxury and excess. My paintings and ceramics play with the unattainability of this vision by presenting spaces and objects that subtly reveal the impossibility of these ideals, through excess and abstraction.”

A Gaze Between Four Walls spans more than a decade of Eileen Murray’s artistic practice and offers a chance to reflect on artistic progression and repetition. Her recent paintings and collages, steeped in the vanitas tradition, offer a contemporary take on the still-life genre, filled with symbols of beauty, pleasure, fragility, and the transience of life. For Murray, the still life and the vanitas were potent traditions to work through during the COVID-19 pandemic when perceptions of domestic space were reshaped and redefined. Exhibited at the Leighton Art Centre, itself a home transformed into a gallery, this exhibition is a chance to reflect on the enduring and unseen human imprints that define domestic spaces.

Eileen Murray holds a B.F.A. with Great Distinction from the University of Lethbridge (2005), and an M.F.A. Painting & Photography from the University of Saskatchewan (2012). Her work has been shown throughout Canada and she is currently represented through Elevation Gallery (Canmore, Fernie), James Baird Gallery, Newfoundland (Pouch Cove), The Prow Gallery (Halifax), and Merrick Gallery (Victoria BC). Her paintings are in numerous public and private collections in Canada, the U.S., and Mexico.

Please join us for an Exhibition Reception for A Gaze Between Four Walls, Aldo Marchese’s The Power of Colours and Troy Nickle’s Sky Vessels (the outdoor aspect of upcoming gallery exhibition Lungs of the Earth) on June 22, 2024, between 1 and 4 pm. Remarks will be held at 2 pm.


June 22 @ 10:00 am
August 25 @ 4:00 pm
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Leighton Art Centre
282027 144 Street West
Foothills, Alberta T1S 0Y4 Canada
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