Rough Matter is the titular subject of Rebecca Murtaugh’s new exhibition hosted by Stout Projects in the Gary Giordano Gallery. Rough Matter is an apt title; it conveys the art in both its literal and figurative forms.
The subject’s physical form is rough, coarse, and colorful. Composed of recycled material, ranging from branches to Styrofoam, the pieces are a construction of both the natural and unnatural. Complex textures are intertwined with radiant colors to create a surreal sculpture; one open to interpretation. In the imaginative sense, it encapsulates a style that is a rough understanding of the innate desires of humanity.
Murtaugh’s “Feelers” series displays a symbiotic relationship of color and form. Crescent shaped structures build on one another, characterized by an intimacy of growth and mutual dependence. A succession of pieces titled, “Aperture,” show concentric circles in a multiplicity of bright shades with an open center. It calls to mind the rings of a tree, once more emphasizing development and growth. In “Paddle & Burrow,” the aesthetic of juxtaposing symbols of nature and artifice continue. Like a geode hidden in a boulder, the work examines brilliant crystals of color that bore through a more demure exterior.
Beyond the art itself, the exhibit exhibits a level of professionalism. Within the small gallery space, Stout Projects have established an environment in which the art is showcased in a manner that allows for a sense of immersion. Coupled with this, the gallery offers a small handbook on the artist and her work. The slim volume opens with a forward from the author, noting the distinguished relationship creator and curator share. Robin’s praise for Rebecca is reflected not just in words, but in the effort made to let her artistic expression shine. The book also includes an essay by Lilly Wei, “See Me, Feel Me, Touch Me, Heal Me,” covering an in-depth study in Murtaugh’s history.
Murtaugh has an extensive track record within the art world, as a teacher and a student. She studied at several colleges, culminating in a Master of Fine Arts from the Virginia Commonwealth University. Currently, Murtaugh teaches upstate at Hamilton College, as an associate professor of art. She has been featured in numerous publications of high repute; The New York Times, The New Criterion, the Huffington Post, and the shwick’s own Bushwick Daily to name but a few. Her exhibit background is as luminous, having had pieces selected for the New York City High Line. The open park feels a natural fit, given the artist’s penchant for fusing elements of the earth with the artificial.
Stout Project will be displaying Rough Matters by Rebecca Murtaugh at the Gary Giordano Gallery in Bushwick from March 17 to April 16th.