Artist's Statement (word doc)
Gordon Murray noted two significant influences in his past: as a young child, he was
inspired by Les très riches heures du Duc de Berry, one of the
finest examples of a Medieval Book of Hours, painted sometime between 1412 and 1416 by the Limbourg Brothers; and
later by the work of Susan Baker. The first book Mr. Murray ever attempted utilized a poem, "The Scout,"written by his
father, George Murray, which Mr. Murray read aloud, one of three recitations. Another, a poem entitled "Scarecrow,"
also composed by his father, served as the text for a one of the books on display,
a work which he utilized altered xeroxes and lithography. (With permission from Mr. Murray, the poem is displayed below.)
Mr. Murray also read the famous homily by
Martin Niemöller, which formed the basis of his largest and most effective work. Beside the paradigmatic verses of
Pastor Niemöller, Mr. Murray juxtaposed very large altered woodcuts adapted from found images, some iconic, referencing
various modern and contemporary atrocities, such as the McCarthy hearings,
striking textile workers being kept at bay by guardsmen with bayonets, and the war in Bosnia, which he juxtaposed with
images of the Holocaust to suggest the broad applicability as well as the timeliness of Niemöller's words. (Indeed, as noted elsewhere on this website,
a previous speaker, Marshall Weber, made use of Niemöller to make his own ideological statement.)
Pinned to a cornstalk sky
I watch the road go by
And slap at black-heart crows
That perch upon my nose.
They peck at my button eyes
And scorn my straw-bone lies.
A man of sticks and wind I am
A creature built of sham.
But wanting peace, God knows,
I want no war with crows.
Oh, wind that pushes me about
Before my straw runs out
Send me down a gust that sings
And sweeps me off on nascent wings!
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