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Review: Particle Physics by Katrina Murray

A look at the Circle City Industrial Complex show that's exploring particle physics

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by Katrina Murray - SUBMITTED
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There were actually two separate destinations to hit if you wanted to check out the work of Katrina Murray on Friday night at the Circle City Industrial Complex. There were both the Nancy Lee Designs Studio on the ground floor and her second floor studio where a dozen or so of her paintings in various styles were on display, including "Kubrick's Camera," which depicts an onlooker ogling said camera in the LA Contemporary Museum of Art. The painting is realistic in style, although the colors are primarily washed out blues and yellows, like a faded film print. That painting was from California Series Yet to Be Named, and whether or not she's ever named it, she's moved on, into the world of particle physics. The inspiration for one painting in this new series was by the Quebecois painter Jean Paul Lemieux, who died in 1990.  His painting "Figure, Turned towards the Cosmos," is a stylized depiction of a young child staring up at the stars. But Murray's painting of the same name — on display with five others in the Particle Physics series in the Nancy Lee Design Studios — depicts instead bluish and purplish abstractions against a pink field. (It figures that an artist who frequently crosses the line from abstraction into representation and vice versa would be inspired by a painting in one style to paint in the other.)

 In "Where the Wild Things Are," however, you just might be able to recognize a wild thing or two. Certainly, there is beauty in the gestural playfulness of these painting, the odd color combinations. But then, reading the text supplied by the artist, you realize that these depicted scenes most likely are taking place on the subatomic level. 

"My new work is based on particle physics," she says in her artist's statement. "I am fascinated with the Large Hadron Collider and the process of smashing protons and the information that comes from that. I am a maker, not a scientist, but I do meditate on these scientific findings while I make."

The one painting that stands apart from the others in this series remains untitled. In this painting the color contrasts are sharper and the pointillist-like touches of her previous work in this series — as if depicting particles beaming about in a particle accelerator — are gone. Perhaps she was on the verge of a new discovery, a new turn in her work when randomness — an element in human life as well as in particle physics — intruded. She had an auto accident in April that resulted in a brain injury. All proceeds from this exhibition go directly toward offsetting medical expenses while Murray recovers.

Through Aug. 29.

Nancy Lee Designs Studio, Circle City Industrial Complex, nancy@ndesignsmetal.com, 937-1652, by appointment only

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