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    Photo: Stephen Pitkin/Pitkin Studio
  • Click on image to enlarge

    Photo: Dan Jurgens
c. 1980
Paint, marker, paper, wire, on found television set
19.5 x 26.25 x 16 inches
Collection of
Souls Grown Deep Foundation

Murray’s first paintings were executed on found objects and placed throughout his house’s interior and exterior walls. The choice of materials was not arbitrary. Each object was selected because of some symbolic significance or meaning—sometimes obvious, sometimes esoteric—that it held for Murray. Among the earliest extant examples are two protective devices that were placed in the house as a complement to the rock piles that formed a sort of perimeter defense. The two pieces, a painted television set and an old automobile windshield, are very similar. Both the windshield and the television screen are glass, a material penetrable by light rays, by sounds, and presumably by malevolent energy. Both pieces are vulnerable to such evil. On its reverse side, the television set is covered with meandering red lines that look as if they are attempting to crawl through a vent leading to or from the interior of the box. Across the top is an inscription in red, a warning or perhaps a curse. The windshield has a similar red inscription, this one surrounding the painted surface. By painting the entire glass area of both objects with vertical forms (guardian figures, both human and spiritual) in blue and white, buttressed by yellow, Murray ensured that the threats could be repelled.