Opening Reception: Christopher Murphy & John Tottenham


Past Event

Location Info:

Lora Schlesinger Gallery
2525 Michigan Ave., B5b
Santa Monica, CA  90404
Lora Schlesinger Gallery is proud to present Ebb, Christopher Murphy’s seventh solo exhibition with the gallery. Christopher Murphy’s recent series of graphite drawings are situated at the delicate intersection of ostensibly oppositional forces. The overpowering turbulence of nature finds a fragile equilibrium with Her serenely rhythmic patterns and cycles, and these drawings take a specific interest in how human interaction can tip the balance at this point of tension. Photos from personal travels, family albums, and estate sales, serve as a basis for these works, with new realities created by dramatically restaging the action or stillness, recontextualizing figures, or inventing scenarios. The satiny grays of the graphite nod to the often black and white photographic origins of these pieces.

Murphy takes a Romantic approach to these depictions, with a particular interest in the dual qualities of terror and beauty that can be simultaneously experienced in our interactions with Nature­–a kind of tragic joy. He searches for the aesthetic beauty in the violence of a conflagration, in the placidity of the aftermath of a flood, or in an explosive moment that is at once furious and tranquil. By rendering figures as diminutive in an expansive landscape, or from behind, or completely absent, an attempt is made to guide the viewer’s gaze, further inviting them into the environment directly or providing a mediating perspective through which to experience the sublime sweep of these places and events.

Murphy was born in 1977 and grew up in Irvine, CA. His earliest and most lasting influences are the painters Lucien Freud, Antonio López García, and Robert Bechtle. He earned his B.F.A. from Art Center College of Design in 2002, and was awarded the highest honor of graduation with distinction. His work has been reviewed by The Los Angeles Times, Artweek, and Art Papers. In 2012, he was selected as the New American Paintings Reader’s Choice Winner.

Lora Schlesinger Gallery is also proud to present Emptyscapes, John Tottenham’s first solo exhibition with the gallery. Though mostly known as a writer and performer, John Tottenham has always maintained a practice centered on figurative art. An old-fashioned pencil and paper/paint and brushes man—an educated outsider and anti-expressionist—Tottenham has produced hundreds of delicately-wrought pen and ink drawings over the last five years. His latest exhibition, Emptyscapes, features a new selection of desolate vernacular and industrial scenes overlaid with darkly humorous text.

John Tottenham graduated with a degree in Fine Arts from City and Guilds Art School, London, UK. He has had a number of solo shows in Los Angeles: Las Cienegas Projects (2010), Rosamund Felsen Gallery (2012), and Maloney Fine Art (2014). He is the author of The Inertia Variations and Antiepithalamia & Other Poems of Regret and Resentment. His final collection of verse, The Hate Poems, will be published in 2018.

The exhibitions open with an artists’ reception, Saturday November 3rd from 4-6pm, and are on view through December 15, 2018.

Exhibition Dates: November 3 – December 15, 2018


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