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    Photo: Stephen Pitkin/Pitkin Studio
c. 1980
Paint and marker on metal stovetop and wall panel
26 x 30 x 2.25 inches
Collection of
Souls Grown Deep Foundation

Murray had a special fascination with stovetops, and painted several of them. Perhaps it was their association with heat and energy that made them an appropriate subject for him, or perhaps their combination of geometric elements appealed to Murray’s vocabulary of forms. The stovetop is another in his series of occluded portals, but with clear additional implications. As with the other shields, blue guardian forms supported by a divine yellow energy field cover the solid surface. But the stovetop has inherent weaknesses–four circular burner openings–through which evil can enter. Murray fastened a piece of plywood across the back of the object, blocking the openings but failing to close them tightly enough to make them secure. Murray drew attention to this flaw by smearing red in and around two of the holes. The device has failed. Exercise more diligence in defending against threatening forces, Murray seems to have been reminding himself. Over and over, using a wide variety of objects, Murray reenacted his ritual. He understood that evil cannot be stopped, but each reenactment is reinforcement.