Gregory Murdock was born in 1954 in Saskatoon. He credits a trip to Europe following high school for kindling his passion to become an artist. When he returned from Europe, he enrolled in the faculty of Fine Arts at the University of Saskatchewan, studying ceramics, sculpture and drawing. He then travelled to Mexico to study bronze at the Instituto Allende in San Miguel Allende. In 1979 he came to Vancouver to study at the Emily Carr College of Art and Design. Here, he expanded his architectural vision and imagery, created installations and discovered the potential of “spackle” as a medium and surface to explore in both his two-and three-dimensional works. He is known for his fresco-like mixed-media works that elegantly explore surface, space and form with references to both external and internal worlds. His work can be found in the Vancouver Art Gallery, Musée d’art Contemporain, Montreal, and the Art Institute of Chicago.
Syncopations 1 and Syncopations 2 allude to the unusual rhythms cast between forms of the architecturally referenced pieces the artist has been working with. The variations imposed by a variety of etching processes informs the imagery in both works and enables Murdock’s calculating aesthetic sensibility to shine. The contrast of dense form and rich surface markings combine with an architectonic structure adding intrigue and mystery to both prints. Icons of past works find their way to the surface in a rich visual syncopation in tune with the creative and artistic edge that is Murdock as his graphic best.
Etching is an example of intaglio. Intaglio derives its name from the Italian intagliare, meaning to incise. Copper or zinc plates have a waxy ground applied to them, and an incising tool called a scribe is used to penetrate the ground. The plate is immersed in an acid bath, where the acid bites into the incised lines to emphasize them. When the plate is ready for inking, the ground is removed and the entire plate is covered in ink. The plate is then wiped clean on the surface and printed on damp paper, where the paper is forced into the etched lines and picks up the remaining ink, resulting in an image.
Shoreline Ghosts, 2005
five-plate etching, retouched, ed. 50
image: 22” x 35.5”
paper: 43.5” x 30”