I was recently invited to take part in the annual JNY project, in which 30 artists each released a print which was printed by Jealous Gallery. Each was an edition of 36, and mine was a three-layer screen print of one of my most popular works to date, Ophelia. The original was inspired by the character of the same name from William Shakespeare’s Hamlet, and is an A4 black electrical tape painting on glass, which I then encased in resin and framed. It was shown at my fifth solo show Lavish Entropy with Delphian Gallery in July.
I absolutely LOVE how they printed these, with a subtle grey layer to delineate the shadows under where the tape is on the original, and a gloss white layer on the flowers. I was very happy to have been invited to take part in this project again, as I had such great feedback about my print from the project a few years ago.
After shows in both Jealous galleries, these prints went on to be exhibited for a whole month at The Saatchi Gallery, in their Prints & Originals room. It was incredible to show at the Saatchi again, as it’s one of my favourite London Galleries. They also shared my piece on their Instagram account and in their mailinglist, which was flattering.
I have held back a batch of these prints and will be making them available for sale just before Christmas. Email email@example.com to add yourself to the waiting list if you would like one.
Big thanks to Dario, Louise, Nick, as well as Paul at The Saatchi for making this happen again.
I have just realised that I never posted photos of my last solo show Lavish Entropy with Delphian Gallery, so here they are below.
I’d like to take this opportunity to thank my fellow Delphian Gallery team for everything. Andrew Salgado for writing the amazing catalogue text. Old Blue Last Beer for supplying the drinks for the opening party. And everyone else who visited, bought works, or blogged about the show.
On the 18th of October I will be doing this masterclass at West London Art Factory, I rarely do this kind of thing (in fact this is the first one open to the public that I have ever done), so if you’d like to attend please get tickets via the link at the bottom of the page.
I will begin with a short talk, and then will take you through the process of how I make my works, by showing and explaining, and then you will be free to create your own. I will be around to mentor you as you create the works, and all materials will be provided, as well as refreshments.
West London Art Factory invites you to spend an evening with accredited artist Benjamin Murphy, learning to create your own artwork using electrical tape alone. This unique medium is one that makes Benjamin’s work instantly recognisable, as well as its monochromatic themes and figurative subjects. The masterclass offers you an opportunity to watch Benjamin’s process of creating his work and learn these techniques first hand, working with Benjamin to create your own unique piece. The class will begin with a welcome, followed by a demonstration by Benjamin then an opportunity for you to create your own work, guided by Benjamin, using a number of colours and tapes available, on an A3 perspex sheet. The result will be an original piece of art for you to take home. No prior experience is needed, all levels are welcome and all material is provided. Drinks and refreshments will be available.
Please note, this class has limited spaces so be sure to secure your place!!
During the workshop, you’ll learn to make works like these.
I’m very excited to announce that this new screen print is going to be exhibited at The Saatchi Gallery from the 31st of July until the 31st of August.
It is of one of my favourite tape drawings to date, which sold at my most recent solo show with Delphian Gallery.
3 Colour Screenprint on Somerset Satin 300gsm Paper
Edition of 36
55cm x 75cm
Hand signed and stamped.
Printed by the amazing Jealous Gallery.
The original piece has sold, and it is the piece that I still get the most enquiries about. For this reason, I’m expecting the print to be popular, and will be holding a few back for release later on in the year.
I have a few available for purchase, which can be found [HERE]
I recently asked one of my favourite artists (+friend, collaborator, inspiration) Andrew Salgado to write a short text about my work to include in the catalogue for my upcoming solo show. As is always the case with Salgado, he went above and beyond expectations. I was expecting a few sentences at most, and so was completely dumbfounded by what I got back. I think it’s safe to say he understands both me, and my work, better than I do. So if you would like a great insight into my work have a little read of what he wrote, which I have pasted below. I love it so much.
Huge thanks to Salgado – go and buy his work from Beers Contemporary HERE!
Benjamin Murphy is a Romantic – he strolls in wearing all black, of slight stature, looking appropriately broody with skeleton rings on each finger that he’s made himself and decked out in stylized tattoos – most of which he’s designed (and also probably executed upon) himself. He’s the embodiment of his own work; where art-meets-life-meets-art; probably a Kafka novel somewhere in his bag and a journal full of sketches and notes. He’s a bit like I imagine the old Romantic poets, literal manifestations of the very subjects of their poetry – the artist, in beautiful torment, unable to function properly as the very obsess to create somehow overwhelms them. A quick Google search reveals the tenets of Romanticism – the tenets I have long forgotten from my own time in art school – and they reveal themselves like a checklist of Murphy’s work: belief in the individual; reverence of nature; interest in the supernatural or gothic; interest in the past; nostalgic world-view. All of these, I would argue, form the foundations of Murphy’s work.
Over the course of the past few years, Murphy’s artistic practice (well, truthfully it has become something of an oeuvre, hasn’t it?) has grown to encompass his trademark ‘black-electrical-tape’ drawings; traditional pen-and-ink drawing; stitching (by hand, laborious and pain-staking); painting; prose; poetry; and even playwriting. I’m sure he also must play a musical instrument or two, and probably has a number of other tricks up his sleeve, like the ‘five finger knife game’ (aka stabscotch) and must be brewing a bathtub full of gin somewhere. But the point is, this is a multifaceted talent who choses to focus his art on an aesthetic and ethos that is so well-rounded and thought-out that many artists working a lifetime would be jealous of. While his work has grown in terms of technique – which was already rather exceptional a few years back – what one sees now is an artist fully realizing his creative potential. There is never a summit for him, and I often talk to Murphy (well, Ben, to me when we aren’t being professional) and while I’m watching Come Dine with Me after a day in studio, he’s already done 8 hours of tape-drawings and has since been underlining prose in Baudelaire or Camus. What this obsession with work has created is now visually represented in these impeccably and profoundly executed tape-drawings: it is most evident in the triple-tier glass works, where ghostly shadows from layers of intricately detailed surfaces bounce and reflect upon each other. One work, Ghost (2018), depicts an undressing female before a slew of Modernist paintings – and lace curtains draping before a patterned floor, another pattern here, the fronds of a Monstera plant in the back. If you consider the actual work and intensity of mark-making, it’s astounding. When we remind ourselves that this work is executed in tape, not pen-and-ink, it is simply a gobsmacking display of talent. But again, I reiterate the idea that this sort of exhibition comes after years of practice – of obsessive focus on one thing, and the elaboration of a technique he has basically trademarked as his own.
Like many works in the exhibition, the aforementioned piece is characteristic of a Murphy work but also characteristic of the tenets of Romanticism: firstly, imagine Murphy at work, and thus we have the solitary pursuit of an artist, working to depict the solitary moment of a character, usually in a decadently overgrown Victorian setting, usually depicted as a memento-mori or vanitas*, viewed upon in her private moments with a type of gentle reverie. There’s a subtle nod to Degas, with the undressing solitary beauties; but also Matisse, when he’s looking at interiors or plants or even patterns; and even a slight nod to punk-rock, Shakespeare, or even Tarantino: knifes, feathers, needles, that sort of thing. But what I love about Murphy’s work is its inherent sweetness; given its unflinching monochromatism and his love of Nihilist literature, I think the easy route would be to slip into cynicism. But there’s such an adoration of his own craft and the sensuous care of his own materiality that the work carries with it an inherent delicacy, a kind of grace wound into its very make-up, like a type of macabre but beautiful poetry in itself.
I look forward to the day we can sit in a theatre, watching Murphy’s debut play upon stage, with the set-design that he’s created, all scored to music he wrote. It will be an atmospheric, theatrically sombre event, dimly lit, set to candle light. A bit of a Cabinet of Doctor Caligari vibe, I’m sure. So while the lights are on, spend some time with these works, consider the patience and care it would take to execute even just a small one. With those thin carefully delineated lines marking each individual strand of hair, or the articulated stigma of a flower, or the undulations of lace. Just as the Romantic finds himself lost in his own rapturous creation, these are marks that describe countless hours of obsession, and as this young career continues to evolve, one can only imagine how its varying facets will continue to intermingle into a further fully-realised beast.
*A vanitas is a symbolic work of art showing the transience of life, the futility of pleasure, and the certainty of death, often contrasting symbols of wealth and symbols of ephemerality and death. Wikipedia
Lavish Entropy opens on Tuesday the 10th of July at Delphian Gallery – 67 York Street London W1H 1QB