The Art of Just Because with Liam Murphy

Righto, Liam Murphy’s latest exhibition, sets to make us smile with a series of colour-popped paintings and a happy collaboration with ceramics artist Ginklet.  

There are moments in life when you revel in the space that exists when something doesn’t necessarily make sense to anyone, but you. It’s the feeling of wearing a pair of long, black, sequinned gloves to the supermarket. It’s the ceremony of swapping sides of the bed … when you live alone. It’s the eye fillet, you ate for breakfast, on Wednesday. And it’s the moment you realise you’re going to do that every Wednesday from now on. In a world where meaning is attributed to everything, there’s a special kind of joy to be had in the art of ‘just because’.  

This essence is captured in Liam Murphy’s latest exhibition titled Righto, “The work isn’t meant to be dissected really. The art is just nice. It’s fun and it can be enjoyed because it puts a smile on your dial,” says Liam. The body of work exhibits at Fenton & Fenton online from 12 – 22 September 2021 and features 24 paintings by the artist, along with his inaugural collaboration, a series of one-off ceramics that are designed and handmade by Victorian artist Molly Melican who works under the name of Ginklet.

“There’s so much heavy stuff going on right now and I think that paintings and ceramics can be enjoyed for what they are: something colourful that brightens up your day,” says Liam.   

For his first foray into the world of art collaboration Liam reached out to Molly who he’d been a fan of for years, “My sister bought one of her pieces, and I thought, holy wow, where’d you get that? I loved how different and edgy they were. I’d bought a couple for myself and eventually asked her if she wanted to work with me. I was lucky enough for her to agree,” he says humbly.  

The process of collaboration saw Molly designing and hand-building the characters in her studio before Liam painted the trunks. “Instead of turning the ceramics on a wheel Molly will shape each piece right down to the details, that includes rolling out each of their little eyes and noses. It’s such intricate work. Molly painted the faces, and I painted the rest. It was amazing to see how different each piece looked after it was cooked in the kiln,” says Liam.

“I feel connected to these cool little critters. I like that Molly gave them human names – they’ve got personality. Some look intelligent or cheeky, and others like they’re straining to even make a thought! They’re individuals.”

The artist followed his signature naming style for the paintings in the body of work, “I was listening to Nick Cave and PJ Harvey when I was painting, so the titles are names of songs from the albums I heard. I didn’t do it on purpose (listen to two artists), but I guess it’s fitting given this collection is also part of a collaboration.”    

Liam admits there is a fear that lurks at the tipping point of trying something new, “Doubt can creep in, but it always comes back to two important questions for me: Do I like it? Am I happy with it? If you spend too much time thinking about what you can’t change – like the way the art is received – it can stop you in your tracks. So, you need to get it as good as you can … for yourself,” says the artist.   

For Liam the real beauty in the work comes from seeing in situ, “I love to see how these pieces look with other works of art, or alongside things that are important, like family photos. I’m happiest when I see artwork as part of a home. Things are tough right now, so you just have to look at what’s in front of you and with art it can be that little bit of something makes you feel good.” 

Discover Righto by Liam Murphy here

 

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