Kendal Murray: The Collector

Hopes, desires, fantasies, aspirations, ambitions, worries, fears and memories are just a small collection of thoughts contemplated when presented with the ability to daydream. Kendal Murray has created miniature figurines that reflect dream fantasies. Her latest series ‘The Collector’ is a display of finely detailed scenarios. For some, the scenes awaken a cherished past time or a hopeful desire that can be pondered with fondness and delight.

The viewer is exposed to intricate worlds that hold an array of interpretations. We see magical fairytale like places awash with creamy rosy colours, rolling luscious meadows and humble dewy trees. This treasured activity is recorded for us to gaze upon with enjoyment. A brief moment in time stands still; a figurative narrative captured and bounded by ambiguous activity amongst its contended occupants. We reflect on special moments that we wish we could have paused momentarily before they vanished. Murray’s sculptures act as a timeless reminder for what we once had.

The making of ‘The Collector’ demanded meticulous planning, patience and practice before it was acceptable for display. Murray explains; “Each idea has to be conceived, the items found and collected, or the materials sourced and tested, the scenarios imagined and then constructed. You also need to find different ways to work with a variety of materials, and that takes time, to bring it all together.” Materials include timber household items and furnishings, purses, mirrored compacts and pipes. This accurate planning is prominent in the assemblages as they are consistent in conveying the themes intended by the artist; “The idea to create miniature scenarios originally came from my research into the role fantasy plays in the creation of the self. I’ve used the miniature as a metaphor for our inner fantasy lives, dream fantasies in which we project ourselves into a variety of scenarios and imagine ourselves in an assortment of roles.”

Behind the refined and tranquil settings, the series did have its challenges. Murray reveals “The biggest challenge has been to find a way to evoke both the personality of the character I have created to represent ‘The Collector’, while creating a narrative scenario that brings those imagined characters collection to life.” Depicted characters can be examined through a mirrored perspective; this unveils hidden details that announce new chapters to the narrative.

One of the most admirable features of the series is Murray’s ability to inject a deep level of emotion into each miniature, which sequentially enriches the viewing experience. Murray says, “I hope that the viewers of the exhibition enjoy the experience that I’ve worked to create through the artworks and the design of the exhibition itself. I also hope that the collection presented in the exhibition offers them the opportunity to remember, and identify with the narratives posed through both the assemblages inspired by botanic specimens and the garden filled dreams on display.”

These pleasant dreamy places are immersed with feelings that will resonate in the mind of the observer. There can be a subtle tone of sadness that accompanies the nostalgic reflection of past memories but this is comfortingly celebrated in ‘The Collector’.

Arthouse Gallery
7 to 24 May, 2014

Protect, Collect, Direct, Effect, 2013, mixed media assemblage
sitting on Reflect, Perfect, Resurrect, 2013, mixed media assemblage, 1330 x 65 x 42cm

Group display, 2013, mixed media assemblage, dimensions variable

Courtesy the artist and Arthouse Gallery, Sydney