James Austin Murray

James Austin Murray live and works in New York City, NY.

Murray's black paintings, created with ivory black oil paint, are a little like searching in a dark room with a flashlight that only brightens the few inches in front of it. Feeling our way along the walls, trying to identify the furniture and layout of the place we found ourselves in. The paintings look like an unfriendly landscape you could walk right into. It's a visual place that is both disconcerting and overpoweringly seductive.

As a firefighter during the 9/11 attack in New York City, Murray paints because it is how he justifies his life. Nothing else seems to hold up. He loves paint, loves the smell of oil paint and the warm buttery consistency it has while it's being pushed along by the brush. His current work is both about the paint and the light that reflects on and in it. If you spend time with one of his paintings you might find yourself thinking about the light in the room, with you and that painting. Murray says, "Sometimes the dark is where you find the best surprises." He taught at Parsons School of Design, New York.

back to artist page