Winston Wachter Fine Art, New York is pleased to announce Magic Bridge, an invitation into the imaginative world created by Ethan Murrow. This debut of new paintings and drawings brings to life themes of the surreal and the belief in the impossible.
Magic Bridge includes meticulously detailed black-and-white drawings alongside paintings that pop vibrantly with color. Continuing from previous series, the characters in the works are drawn from self-portrait and self-parody. Murrow’s love and nostalgia for being in nature has sprouted re-occurring subjects with elaborate headpieces of colorful flower arrangements. The figures eagerly, perhaps blindly, engage in precarious and perplexing activities amid dynamic landscapes of lush forests, crashing waves, and dramatic mountains.
Ethan Murrow’s creative practice begins with performance and the development of props, wardrobe and scene, often finding inspiration in art historical references. Viewers may recognize familiar motifs from Winslow Homer, American Regionalism, the Hudson River School, and Dutch interiors. The aesthetics of theater and stage performance can be found in these works, drawing on spaces where audiences must suspend disbelief and question the authority of these canonical moments romanticized in art history.
The piece, Magic Bridge, for example, depicts a bouquet-headed man performing a delightful balancing act over a stormy sea. Tending to the Chorus shows a similar character in a bandleader uniform directing a rainforest. Their earnest actions seem to totter on the edge of what is sane or sensible. Many of the works in this exhibition feature a close connection to water – people in rowboats, balancing on flimsy bridges, or swimming in the bubbles of a lake or pond. Murrow is captivated by the mystery and unknown of aquatic environments, and questions the depths to which we understand the world. In highlighting the characters’ absurd and humbling attempts to control their environments, Murrow suggests that a worthy pursuit is learning to exist in and among the spaces in which we find ourselves and to be open to situations that are difficult to explain. In doing this, we may be able to restrain our obsession with facts and absolute truths, and just for a moment, accept the unexplainable and embrace a little bit more magic.
Ethan Murrow was born in 1975 in Greenfield, Massachusetts in the United States. Raised on a sheep farm in Vermont, he received his Bachelor of Arts from Carleton College and his Master of Fine Arts from The University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill. Ethan’s research and practice focuses on historical narratives and the idealized and uncomfortable ways in which they are told, retold and molded into powerful, absurd and subjective tales. In addition to works on paper, he develops large scale wall drawings, murals and installations for site specific projects and exhibitions, working closely with local communities, stakeholders, institutions and corporations.