J o h n    M u r r a y
Uniformed

‘For me, the idea of uniformity has had a strange presence in South Africa over the last ten years. We are encouraged to believe that, in spite of all the differences and diversity, we are able to live as one people or one nation. This notion is especially evident through our participation in sport, an arena that epitomizes the uniform, but also highlights the artificiality about our quest for unity.’
The title of this exhibition, Uniformed, reflects John Murray's interest in the contradictions between public and private in daily South African life. The uniforms that surround us in the workplace, on the sports fields, in our homes and in the street signal conformity. They suggest stereotypes, and immediately evoke assumptions about class, colour, gender and profession. However, even though the individual may conform in terms of dress, he or she remains an individual, and their private persona has usually been compressed to meet public preconceptions.

In these installations Murray has been stylistically influenced by tension between the graphic, painterly and photographic elements that are often combined in the photo collages of the Russian Constructivists and early propaganda posters of communist China as well as in West African sign-writing.

Murray was born in Cape Town in 1973 and studied fine art at the University of Stellenbosch. Since his graduation in 1996, he has had four solo shows in Cape Town and his work has been included in numerous group exhibitions. In 2002 he partook in a Triangle Artists' Workshop in New York and more recently was awarded the Thami Mnyele residency and spent three months painting in Amsterdam.

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© 2003 Michael Stevenson. All rights reserved.