Walter Tandy Murch

I really shouldn’t have neglected the Art Club these past few months since art is one of my favorite things to appreciate and discuss. It’s one of the few areas where almost everyone is going to have a different opinion about what is good and what is interesting – and it’s also a case where no one is wrong about their opinions. It’s entirely a matter of perception.

Walter Murch has recently entered the ranks of my favorite artists. I saw a number of his paintings at an exhibition here in Madison and immediately fell in love. He worked primarily in still lifes, but not what you would immediately picture when you think “still life.” There are no bowls of fruit, no freshly caught fowl. Instead, he painted machine parts, discarded models, and other unappreciated hunks of everyday life. Despite the hard edges and asymmetry of his subjects, his works are almost universally rich and mellow and remarkably handsome. They’re also just a little bit unsettling, the paint rough and washed-out as if the painting itself was just as forgotten as the subject. His paintings all seem like they’ve been hiding in the back of a bank vault for the past 100 years, each one a key to some grand puzzle. Put the parts together and you’ll have a map to old man Murch’s buried treasure!


Gravity Experiment, 1961wtmurch_37_lg

Carburetor, 1957carheater

Car Heater, 1957WTMurch_TheDoll

Enlarged Doll, 1965

You can find a great deal more of his work here, although they’re unfortunately mostly in black and white.

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