A Conversation Piece

John Murphy and Juliao Sarmento

This is an exciting and ground-breaking collaboration between two artists who both approach their work cinematically, combining fragments of images in montages where each image gains meaning from its association with another within the canvas, or in relation to other works. Fully illustrated and with an essay by curator Michael Tarantino, this new book shows how Murphy and Sarmento attempt to represent the senses of sight, sound, smell, touch and taste, and describes their use of detail or fragment in order to suggest a kind of floating narrative.

Both Murphy and Sarmento take their images from a variety of sources: film, popular illustrations, classical painting, comic books, photography, pornography etc. Sarmento’s work is frequently influenced by the cinema and its ability to combine images and gestures. For him, the canvas is the field in which an infinite number of possibilities may be played out, an endless number of narratives told. If Sarmento’s works seem like a veritable explosion of possibilities, Murphy’s concise, almost elemental, method of painting may seem diametrically opposed. Recent works have combined images of dogs on one panel, stellar constellations on another. Other works have featured fragments of the human body, such as an ear or a hand that are often painted on to seemingly monochromatic backgrounds. A fascinating dialogue between artists whose work individually is also about the conversation of images and ideas.

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