NOV 14 - JAN 25


Warburton Gallery

1 India Buildings

Victoria Street









Warburton Gallery, Idris Murphy, Paul Martin




The Warburton Gallery is pleased to present Edgelands, an exhibition of new work by Paul Martin and Idris Murphy.


Idris Murphy and Paul Martin, who exhibit together here for the first time, met in London at the age of 22; they met again in Perth, Western Australia at 65, a meeting which planted the seed for this show. The intervening years were spent painting and making, teaching and learning, seeking an understanding of the nature of nature and a sense of which what Martin has called “the gritty sacredness of places and things”.


Geographically, at least, the artists are – almost literally – poles apart: Idris Murphy is drawn back time and again to the Australian bush and desert, to a landscape drenched in colour and heat which offers, he says, “enough to last me a lifetime”. Having lived and worked in Australia for a number of years, Paul Martin has also been influenced by that colour, that heat. However his more recent works on paper, cursive, scratchy and evocative, map and mark the Scottish shoreline, the vigour of rock and cloud, of sand signs and seawrack.


Both Murphy and Martin are schooled in the great European tradition in painting, and acknowledge their debts to Matisse, to Bonnard and Dubuffet; for Murphy, however that tradition has been reinvigorated and reinvented when contextualized by the landscapes of his native land. Murphy also relishes the fusion which has happened in his lifetime, the meeting of European art and the art of Australia’s indigenous peoples, the art of those who have lived in and with the often harsh yet beautiful Australian landscape for a hundred millennia. Martin too has been profoundly influenced by art from outside the European mainstream, his work being underpinned by his study of Orthodox religious painting, its tropes, tenets and techniques.


Both artists have a deep respect, even reverence, for the landscapes they depict and the environment that surrounds them; both seek to go beyond surface to dis-cover deep form, the truth of trees and rocks, to reveal that which is essential. To achieve this it is necessary to free oneself from the desire to order nature, to number, measure, define and commodify, to free oneself from the habit of mind which evaluates our environment in terms of utility, of profit and loss. Paul Martin’s most recent exhibition was in part inspired by his reading of Rilke, who wrote that “in order for a Thing to speak to you, you must regard it for a certain time as the only one that exists, as the one and only phenomenon, which through your laborious and exclusive love is now placed at the centre of the universe”. Idris Murphy, in the introduction to his 2013 show Everywhen, quoted the words attributed to the 1st century churchman Ignatius of Antioch: “We each carry our own depth of silence, a human kind of silence, not found anywhere else…silence is a presence, a receptivity, a readiness, a waiting, a listening.” It is perhaps here that Murphy and Martin find their greatest point of convergence, in the understanding that the environmental challenges we face necessitate our developing this readiness and receptivity, this capacity for concentration, for laborious and exclusive love, this ability to regard nature with a steadiness of gaze that we might equate with the aesthetic gaze, and that this, ultimately, might be what constitutes the work of art.


The works on shown will be complemented by a series of texts by leading Scottish and Australian writers reflecting on the ecological and environmental challenges we face across the world. This strand of the show is collated and introduced by the renowned novelist and short story writer Tim Winton, twice Man Booker nominee and recipient of the Australian Government Centenary Medal, who has been named a Living Treasure by the Australian National Trust.

//  The Warburton Gallery wishes to thank  -  Maureen Foster, Kari de Koenigswarter, Tim Winton, Mark Powell,

Ben Martin and Adrian Zebib for their contribution and support towards this exhibition.