Promised Light

CANADA is pleased to present Promised Light, a solo exhibition by Luke Murphy. For the last two decades Luke Murphy has wrestled with resolving the rude intrusion of the digital world into his love of painting. In the mid 1990s, he was one of the first digital artists to use the web itself, presenting pixels as both content and medium.

Obsessed with the inane, often broken, blinky world of bodega signs but uninterested in the “bling of the thing,” he rejected using LEDs as screens, instead breaking them up and re-forming them as everyday objects: quilts, fires, chimneys, and towers. Like Pinocchio’s creator, Geppetto, Murphy is gifted with the ability to bring his machines a voice, a life, a real life. Despite their digital-ness, these objects come with their own secret entrance into our emotional lives, simulacra written onto our very amygdala. When they speak, they talk of our flexibility and our vulnerability, of our being as much a part of them as they are us. And it is there, in this messy tension between the fake and the real where Murphy finds the viewer and presents a reassuring, guiding hand.

In Promised Light, Murphy presents three towers together for the first time. Each tower seems to babble in its own language, a totem to a promise of a past from a yet-to-be future. Celestial Pylon blinks at the viewer, golden halos of light beaming from its knowing center. My Doodem offers up painterly squares of color, genially fading in and over one another as if not to draw too much attention to itself. Rising Glitch sits colder and more formidable on a mishmash of black stretcher bars that threaten to topple under the weight of its failing images. Each of Murphy’s towers are good company; they chatter silently in the background, but here, together, they sing a common song of promised life.

Luke Murphy (b.1963, Boston, MA) has exhibited in solo exhibitions at the Scottsdale Museum of Contemporary Art (SMoCA), Scottsdale, AZ; CANADA, New York, NY; Shane Campbell Gallery, Chicago, IL; Parisian Laundry, Montreal, Quebec; and Postmasters, New York, NY, among others. He received his BS from the University of Toronto in 1985; BFA from Nova Scotia College of Art And Design in 1988; and MFA from State University of New York at Purchase in 1991. He lives and works in New York, NY.