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JWM: The 1:2 ‘screen’ is a recurring motif of my work that provides a scalable format for the exploration of various material interactions. The vertical ‘double square’ ratio intended to evoke a body, or bodies standing/lying side-by-side. I have used this formal relation to allegorise social relations, naming the works after friends and lovers, past and present. This act of naming is a personal means of mapping and memorialising alternative modes of intimacy, community, and kinship – a process of orientation through an investigation of form, space, and material. I developed this approach to ‘object painting’ in response to Lacan’s metaphorical screen of the ‘symbolic order’, to which Roland Barthes’ touchstone Camera Lucida is indebted: hence another deep-seated connection to photography[2]. Within the poetic space of Lacan’s problematic theory of psycho-sexual development (which much queer theory has been written through and against, ironically) I found new opportunities to reinterpret, appropriate, and develop my practice[3].

[2] Barthes, R., 1981. Camera Lucinda: Reflections on photography (1st American ed.). New York: Hill and Wang.

[3] Watson, E., 2019. Psychoanalysis and Queer Theory: Towards an Ethics of Otherness. Studies in Gender and Sexuality, 20(4), pp.242-244

There’s a sense, in this body of work, of the artist having found in the subtle changeability and environmental sensitivity of the graphite and brass a way for things to be which has the right feel. A way for things to be which is affected by conditions and space and the presence of others. Which takes on, extends, and reflects. As if these are articulated states of being-in-relation. Networks of relationships are established and at times these emerge as dualities, where one thing becomes understood in relation to a particular other thing: brass and graphite, material and body, self and other. But rather than these being portrayed as distinct binaries an attentiveness to interrelation, touching, process and cross pollination creates an attunement instead to intimate details of the differences within, of the overlaps, and of the becoming of each other.

In places the brass and graphite physically touch one another. In these small but intense interactions - in the soft glow of gold in the grey-sheened weave, as in the calling out to another’s name, as in the methods of joining, as in the schemes of connecting - there is something like a critical intimacy, which ripples the unbroken surfaces of the objects with subjectivities, which considers the ways that attachments are created to and between ideas and things and people.

Extract from the essay The Drawing Stone

by Bryony Bodimeade


Untitled (Bob & James), 2018, graphite on brass panels in steel frame, 207 x 205 x 6 cm
Commissioned by Patrons of Eastbourne Arts Circle for the Sussex Open Commission 2018

james william murray UNTITLED BOB & JAME

Work detail


Untitled (Daniel, Joseph, Jacob, Samuel), 2020, graphite on linen, beaten brass, steel, 120 x 60 x 6 cm

Private collection Brighton UK


Work detail


Untitled (Bob, James, River), 2018, graphite on canvas, brass hinges, 77 x 25 x 2 cm

Private collection, Brighton UK

james william murray BOB JAMES RIVER CLO

Untitled (Bob, James, River), 2018, graphite on canvas, brass hinges, 77 x 25 x 2 cm

Private collection, Brighton UK


Untitled (James) ii, 2020, graphite on linen, beaten brass, steel, 60 x 124 x 4 cm


Work detail

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