Metal, Paint and Fool's Gold
150 x 15 x 7cm
Notes on the work:
'Liberal's Mantra' formed part of a larger solo show entitled 'Sleep Sleep' which was held in Johannesburg , and then an extended version was exhibited in Cape Town earlier this year. Much of the work looked at issues of religious fundamentalism, war and the abuse of power, leadership dumbness and nightmares of global incompetence in dealing with these ...rather large issues to grapple with. I attempted to use humour and satire to debunk notions of power and religious arrogance. The working title for this piece was 'Through Gritted Teeth'. With much of the world falling apart, with leadership issues lacking both globally and locally, it is through clenched teeth that we soldier on.
('Liberal's Mantra' recalls an earlier work called 'Mantra' which states: "I must learn to speak Xhosa!" This was part of a larger show which poked fun at identity and shifts in cultural dominance. )
Now living and working in Cape Town, South African born artist Brett Murray has exhibited his work extensively in South Africa and abroad. The 'Sleep Sleep' series includes bronzes, paintings, prints, plastic cut outs and photographs.
Sculptor Brett Murray is best known for his work which explores South African society through satire. Has previously defined himself as a 'white, middle-class cultural hybrid' (Williamson 2004:262).This central theme of tragedy and satire has been extended in Murray's new body of work.
Brett started the 'Sleep Sleep' body of work in 2005. When speaking about the body of work Brett commented that: "I consciously didn't constrict or frame what I was doing into a thematic straight jacket. My intention was to use different materials and processes and to allow for awkward jumps and associations between one group of ideas to the next in order to see where this would lead me." Working in this way Murray has used a variety of media including bronze, paintings, prints, plastic cut outs and photographs. His bronzes describe children's toy-like animals as thinly veiled attacks on notions of incompetence, greed and buffoonery. There is a series of large plastic drawings of 'sleeping' heads describing a kind of a somnambulist funk.
Murray has also produced a group of photographic self portraits which have the facetious title 'New Beginnings', and has painted a Zen-like series of portraits of his 'favorite' politician's arse-holes. In addressing issues of war Murray has produced a series of re-worked Cardies style images. This body of work also includes a few text based works and some paintings which are based on 50's neo-colonial book covers.