Gemini G.E.L.: A Catalogue Raisonné, 1966–2005
Elizabeth Murray (1940–2007) began working with Gemini G.E.L. in the early 1990s. Her output at Gemini alternated between standardized editions of impressions, such as Red Violet (35.8) from The Bounding Dog Series—one of her early projects for Gemini—and endeavors that dispense with uniformity, where prints differ through variables inherent in hand-coloring, idiosyncratic grouping of multiple components, or other permutations. Murray's second undertaking at Gemini, a series of relief assemblages collectively titled Thirty-Eight, falls into the latter category. As with each work in the series, Smoke (35.2.18) consists of three paper elements: an embossed figure plus two support layers. The artist cut and folded each figure by hand into a three-dimensional construction, then excised sections of the middle sheet to allow the newspaper text of the bottom layer to show through. After laminating all three elements together and tailoring the final contours of the support, Murray applied a variety of pastels to further individualize each piece.
Murray's figure-based neo-expressionist style lent itself to a wide range of printmaking media, which the artist exploited to maximum effect. The frenetic etched lines in Deep Bite (35.17), a print from The Lament Series, create a sense of heightened activity. This nervous energy translates equally effectively to the process of lithography, as exemplified by the 2004 work Tybid (35.34). In her collaborations with Gemini, as in her painting practice, Murray repeatedly questioned the boundaries of the picture plane and the rectangular frame. She pushed the definition of what an edition print can be while also challenging the workshop to keep pace with her innovations. In complex pieces like those in The Metropolitan Series (35.35) and others, Murray explored, probed, and blurred the limits between drawing, printmaking, and sculpture.
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