~LUKE MURPHY . . FIAC / & a real nice ‘dialogue’ with SARAH BRAMAN !!

Anything but, Square !!
catching up with FIAC PARIS 2018.


or: the tale of the ‘wake-up’ call of the arm-less chair vs the pulsating spectre of the end-less . . wishing well.

I’m thinking,
there was such a real nice ‘unspoken’ dialogue / going on between these two artists /
& their very different . . . ‘romancing the cube’.

all the better to perceive . . the depth, & potential of both.
more in terms of pure art analysis, rather than narrative ‘meaning’, but making the jump into philosophy and/or emotion, etc. etc. all the more splendid & wide open, if that’s something you require in your art.
and sometimes you do, need to understand that aspect of an artist’s expression, but in both these cases, I think it’s safe to say the priority here is the visual . . adventure. and such a contrast of ideas, within the form of a . . square.

I’m thinking . .
here, in these two cube-based sculptures, lies 2 dynamic but very differing worlds – just rocking, and rollin’ on the purely / visual realm.
not too wild, not too flamboyant.
very centered. very specific. very focused / in composure.

here’s an image of Sarah’s ‘cube’, again.
which was shown at MITCHELL-INNES and NASH.
image via Instagram @canada.nyc

LUKE MURPHY, ‘Every Pixel Bright’, 2018.
Digital sculpture comprised of LED panels programmed by the artist / wood, straps & hardware
with custom computers. 30-1/4 x 25 x 25 in.
exhibited by CANADA GALLERY, NY . . at FIAC PARIS 2018
image via Instagram @canada.nyc

I liked right away, how both cubes appear to be about the same dimension, and yet so different. and: so square / NOT.

even more, I was drawn to how the ‘top’ surface, in both . . caught swatches of light-sourced, neon-colored, abstract patterns, a lucky shot in Sarah’s case, a manipulated one in Luke’s / an abstract moment – that seemed at once solid / yet totally transitory .. in Sarah’s case, being a random environmental reflection, though clearly the surface was intended to do just that / reflect. and a ‘wired’ computed optical illusion / reflection in Luke’s . .
and so, let the opposing but equally brilliant . . . art games, begin.

“Lovely Bones’, those 2 poetic cubes !!!!!!
well, maybe that’s a bit crude of a metaphor / too much (horrible) Halloween TV.
but, still . . shifting clues, the mysterious fictional & the outright factual . . . layer-up, over-lap, and start a mutual reaching-out.

cubes . . the ‘bones’ of many a standard package, box or gallery . . . or check-off box on a multiple choice form. and, often looked down upon in contemporary culture as lowly, restricting, rigidly structured & defined. unless purely minimal, as in Donald Judd. hinting at conformity, within-the-lines behavior.
here ?
so, very very . . NOT.

EVEN . .
if you are unfamiliar with Ms. Braman’s work (aka msgrauer on IG), it’s easy to deduct from the photo what you are looking at, and what probably is quite a curious experience to actually walk around. in fact, I don’t think you have to be too experienced of an art lover to deduct that those are reflections of the room, on the cube’s surface. so the fiction . . begins !!
the ordinary chair . . lacks arms. some kind of man-made creative block of wood holds the cube into place, and the cube itself – sits there in a very ‘unreal’ yet solid (?) spacial territory. the cube itself looks to be only surfaces, and these seem to be of a reflective nature, probably glass or plexiglas. often Ms. Braman’s sculptures comprise of transparent plastic – so that could still be happening ? kind of like ‘catch and release’, both happening at the same time, think: fishing. so the forms, and the surfaces themselves take on a big role in pushing your head-space into the . . art realm.
warning: entering the art zone, so please . . put on your thinking, viewing, experiencing hats.it’s just lovely to consider, and ponder all the pieces. the surfaces, oblique vs transparent, transparent vs reflective . . organic, fictional, or squarely ‘square’ / play with each other, embrace each other, and yet fit – tight.
all is really really solid, very tactile. not too complicated. kind of a hardware store made simple, except for that middle base – that almost looks like an 18th C writers desk. all is really real – yet all is really really, NOT.
this is ‘beauty’ handed over to you – on a plate / a chair. or the illusion of a chair. the illusion of tactile. the illusion of all is right.
I guess despite all I said about purely visual properties, I’d have to confront myself / this piece in its tactile gentle wanderings, does greatly open the door to . . philosophy / and the world around us. and it is going where ?
and my world is gentle at the moment, but perhaps ready to topple over, to deconstruct at a moment’s notice / Ms. Braman’s work doesn’t reflect, or shine translucent light, or colored transparent on its surroundings, for naught (!!)
and its not just a puzzle, it’s more of a gentle ‘woke-up’, don’t take things for granted / nothing is as it seems. the world, or is that the . . WORD, is not written in stone. it’s a balancing act – and you are just assuming, it’s all going to go – your way.
it can all come tumbling down.
take care – people. of the land, the world. your spiritual selves.
walk about this small (one-chaired) fictional event, seemingly so simple – and up-grade that . . mindset.
I think also, in terms of the chair referencing ‘history’, I start thinking Henry David Thoreau and Walden (?), but where this chair ride takes you, the variation of human experience that we as individuals draw upon to understand what’s put before us, & the infinite riff of imaginative thinking – is also what animates a piece that started life as a chair, and ended up as . . a prism.

and, on further thought, I’m compelled to interject:
well, really, and I mean . . . REALLY.
that could be all that’s left of us, in the 22nd C. !!
a digital ‘mind box’, no bio-body, sitting in an historical-referencing chair, all the better / not to freak out . . our ancestor DNA.

access . . Luke’s work / which is really unlocking the secrets of what, unlike Sarah’s work – cannot be as easily ‘decoded’ from a stand-alone photograph.

I mean, it looks beautiful as is. but, unless you knew Luke to be the sci-fi master of the LED matrix (!!) . . you might think that the cube’s top was some kind of glass or vinyl collage / a photo illusion, though not the reflection of the room, as the case with Sarah’s piece. This turn-of-the-century Petit Palais doesn’t look to own a radical, LED ceiling !!

and, if HENRY DAVID THOREAU comes to a far-fetched imagination, with Sarah’s work, damn ft this ain’t referencing . . . S & M goodie, but oldie . . ‘DUNE’ !!!!!!!

You, could also make a far-out case for this structure . . to be alluding to the final resting place & evolution of human kind – all digital brain / no body. perfect for a parched and destroyed world.

but, if you saw Luke’s recent show ‘Every Pixel Bright’ at Canada (June 1-July 15, 2018), you know this to be very much more than what it seems, esp in this photo. you really need a video. if not, to be there in person. that’s also a crazy off-shoot of seeing both of these artists’ works in tandem, centering on a shared form, a box. it’s easier to grasp the real tenets, through comparison.

Luke’s magical, though foreboding box is ’empty’, that is. it has inner volume, unlike Sarah’s, which has only 6 sides, & no inner volume, (unless the walls are transparent, & then it’s implied.
how best to say it: Luke’s wired contraption . . is like a wishing well !!!!
you can look into, you could throw a penny into it / the table-top effect is jusy an illusion created by the LED lights that have been programmed to light up the inside dimension, in patterns of vertical streaks !!

so where to begin, how bout with the basics ?
Sarah’s work creates it’s own physical ‘construct’ & metaphorical dynamic with tactile surfaces & solid, albeit DIY forms / Rev Luke on the other hand, constructs his sculptures with non-tactile colored light, as produced by LED lights run by custom computers, which he builds and programs himself. he’s a systems guy, she’s more of a hands-on materials ‘purist’. She walks into the hardware store, and finds random things to cobble together, he builds the hardware / store.

the macabre, bondage exterior of his ‘cube’ here . . is literally, just that: a bondage / or ‘infra-structure’ / aka ‘form’ . . on which to house or support his colored LED systems / and a big part of his work is the ingenuity and differing form these ‘bondage’ or scaffolding takes. In fact, this specific work is rather untypical, his LED pulses usually come in the form of ribbons, monolith, even animated ‘campfire, and more increasingly, as new age riffs on antique Americana quilts.

Unlike Sarah’s work, which is based on the things that make a forest or a city, or a home, & never include any wired ’embellishment’ . . and work like jigsaw puzzles / Luke’s work is all about the ‘wired’. . though, they both look ‘back’ – to look forward. While Sarah’s work revels in being ‘plain spoken’ surfaces, that can go magical and transparent, quasi-functional, manipulative & poetic, but otherwise are not technically ‘animated’ / Luke’s begin, end & cross-over . . into that which cannot be held, but only . . be-held.

in the end, beyond the visual ‘plasticity’ and conceptual ‘simplicity married with complexity’ constructs, both artists, and their almost, some would say, I would say: ‘self-portrait’ box / cube / sculptures . . bring a spell-binding, and story-telling experience to a world, a planet / on the verge of . . destruction / or enlightenment.
that’s the question. that’s the balancing act – so clear in Sarah Braman’s work.
that’s the digital age ‘spark of hope’, i.e. science put to wondrous evolution, though innovation, respect & beauty . . in Luke’s.

LUKE MURPHY, ‘epic’ LED monolith at FIAC PARIS 2018
image via Instagram @canada.nyc

that’s why, it was quite striking, even in just a photograph, where you could only really ‘intuit’ . . what was going on in Luke’s piece, to see it in such a revered, and seriously skilled, craftsman, old world, wise-old / incredibly patterned / infinite mosaic environment.


1. looking into Luke Murphy’s . . LED lit box, cube, chest, wishing well.

2. down the proverbial rabbit hole. the light pattern fluctuated, to an extent.
it was illuminating & bright, but not paisley psychedelic / more, spatial gravity-defying & ultimately . . sci-fi.
LUKE MURPHY, ‘Every Pixel Bright’, at the opening, CANADA, NYC