James Austin Murray 300x200 James Austin Murray<!  Biography  >


America, b.1969

My work as an artist is about searching and it’s a little like searching in a dark room with a flashlight that will only brighten a few inches in front of it. We artists feel our way along the walls and try to identify the furniture and layout of the place that we find ourselves in. We use the tools we have and each of us arrive with slightly different tools. Each of us learn to build different tools to help us plod on in the dark.

Sometimes the dark is where you find the best surprises. Almost a decade ago, I moved from figurative work to working on small canvases, limiting myself to black oil paint. Forcing this parameter on myself was unpredictably liberating. Over the years I’ve expanded and contracted on my limiting parameters. I spent several years building shaped canvases which were a jumping off point for the paint that followed. Nearly a year and a half ago, I decided to go back to a single shape, the square. I wasn’t sure how far I could take it before I hit a wall and needed to reconsider the next step.

To my surprise, I found this even tighter parameter offered more of the unexpected. Every time I felt myself inching up to that wall, I found a way past it. Like martial arts, there was a type of repetition involved and I knew that if I ever got to the point where I could only repeat myself, I would be done with it. The surprise I am talking about is the increments of improvement in the technique and subject. I gathered more control and became more demanding of the work and more and more of the paintings would get scrapped because they just weren’t as good as I came to expect. In truth, I keep expecting to hit the wall but somehow I keep getting past it.



Super Massive Black Hole, Lyons Wier Gallery, New York, NY


Asia Contemporary Art Show, Hong Kong, China


Art Market Hamptons with Lyons Wier Gallery, East Hampton, NY
Mystery of Light, Lyons Wier Gallery, New York, NY
Asia Contemporary Art Show, Hong Kong, China


Ides of March, Narthex Gallery at St. Peters, New York, NY


Tree’s Whisper, Dam-Stuhltrager Gallery, Brooklyn, NY


Over-On, Dam-Stuhltrager Gallery, Brooklyn, NY


Visiting Artist, International Gallery of Contemporary Art, Anchorage, AK


On and Off White, L.I.C.K. Ltd, Fine Art, Long Island City, NY



(upcoming) Walking Slow, Brooklyn Workshop Gallery, Brooklyn, NY Fourthought (four person show), Lyons Wier Gallery, New York, NY


Lost Cat, Cape Cod Museum of Art, Dennis, MA Governors Island Art Fair, New York, NY
Unlimited Potential, Lyons Wier Gallery, New York, NY Pulse New York with Lyons Wier Gallery, New York, NY


Art Miami, Lyons Wier Gallery, Miami FL
Downtown Art Fair, Lyons Wier Gallery, New York, NY MIA in MIA, Lyons Wier Gallery, New York, NY


Aqua Art Miami, Lyons Wier Gallery, NY
1st Dibs, New York Design Center via Alisa Contemporary, New York, NY


Governors Island Art Fair, New York, NY


Highline Open Studio Preview Exhibition, New York, NY
Dia:Beacon Staff Exhibition, Marion Royael Gallery, Beacon, NY


American Lifescape, DBA256, Pomona, CA
NYU Small works show, 80 WSE, New York, NY
Panorama Project 3, Jonathan LeVine Gallery, New York, NY


Scope Miami, Dam-Stuhltrager, Miami, FL


Scope Miami, Dam-Stuhltrager, Miami, FL
New Artist Show, Bettcher Gallery, Miami, FL Le Papier, Gescheidle Gallery, Chicago, Illinois Group Show, Soho Myriad, Atlanta, GA
Scope NY, Lyons-Wier Gallery, New York, NY


The Panorama Project, The Front Room Brooklyn, NY)


The Exquisite Day Project, Plus Ultra, Brooklyn, NY


Flowers and Configurations, Angel International Art, EastHampton, NY


Sex Death and Religion, Gershwin Hotel Gallery, New York, NY
Size Matters, Gale Gates et al. Brooklyn, NY


Places People, 313 Gallery, New York, NY


Human Condition, 313 Gallery, New York, NY



Bemis Center for Contemporary Art


Dedalus Foundation Fellowship Award for residency at VSC
Residency at The Vermont Studio Center
Artist in Residence at The Woodstock Byrdcliffe Guild


Sofitel, Philadelphia, PA

Hotel Palomar, Philadelphia, PA

Four Seasons Hotel, Washington D.C.
Omni Hotel, Nashville, TN

Tom Ford, Designer