The prefix “syn” (or “sym”) means together. While the prefix acts as a connective tissue between many things, it does not connote perfect symmetries, but instead expansive ones where like and unlike forms meet. Murkerson’s work begins from these points of symmetry, which depart from and return to her body as a reference point.
Goldfinch is excited to present its inaugural show of the East Wing: "syn-" a solo presentation of new work by Chicago-based artist Holly Murkerson.
The prefix "syn" (or "sym") means together. While the prefix acts as a connective tissue between many things, it does not connote perfect symmetries, but instead expansive ones where like and unlike forms meet. Murkerson's work begins from these points of symmetry, which depart from and return to her body as a reference point. A mottled rock-face might be skin; the curves of a mountain, a human spine. Through the photographic medium, she explores connections to "other halves," which correspond to bodily forms in organic and mysterious ways. Murkerson speaks of "Fallopian tubes, lungs, labia, and eyes that connect outward, my first body meeting my second body and my second body touching everything. This second body meets rock, meets waves, meets floods, meets heat, is melting."
The imperfect symmetries (and asymmetries) explored in Murkerson's work speak to acts of doubling, which exist as reflection, folding, collaging of two (or more) images, bisection, all nodding to a relationship with the camera. "The camera is a border that is penetrated by light, on the other side of the "real" the resulting photograph is a sort of warped and dismembered mirror/reflection," Murkerson writes.
Merleau-Ponty metaphorized this relationship as "two mirrors facing one another [in which] two indefinite series of images… arise which belong really to neither of the two [mirror] surfaces." Through the images reflected in them, he adds, these mirrors form 'a couple,' which is 'more real' than either of them could be alone. … Two is the smallest unit of Being. -Kaja Silverman, The Miracle of Analogy: or The History of Photography, Part 1
However, as Murkerson notes, "Through the two, arises a third: Me, space/environment, and the space between us. This middle space is where my second body and the environment's second body overlaps. One and one make three." Continuing, she explains that "this is also affirmed through the presence of three spaces made visible through process (original site where photo is made, the presence of my body during the development process, looking/receiving by a viewer)." Through this overlap, "multiple places and times are present."
Holly Murkerson was born in 1982 in Lakeland, Florida and works in Chicago. Solo and two-person exhibitions include Body of Water at 65Grand, Chicago; Come Roaming at Comfort Station, Chicago; New Work: Holly Murkerson and Michael Vallera at Rainbo Club, Chicago; Body Doubles at Apparatus Projects, Chicago; and Landlocked Blue at Julius Caesar, Chicago. Select group exhibitions include Heaven Gallery, Chicago, Rockford University Art Gallery, Rockford, IL; Andrew Rafacz Gallery, Chicago; Neiman Gallery at Columbia University, New York. She has been a resident at the Vermont Studio Center, The Ragdale Foundation, and Oxbow School of Art, as well as the recipient of grants from The Illinois Art Council and the Chicago Department of Cultural Affairs. Murkerson is a Co-Director of the artist-run gallery, Adds Donna.
*This work is being supported in part by a grant from DCASE*