Artist: James Murray
Year Created: Unknown; not before 2010, probably
Materials: reclaimed wood, stone, steel
Dimensions: 8in x 12in x 7ft 6in
Gallery/Museum/Collection: Private collection of Lisa Williams Acquired: October 15, 2022, from Hammock Gallery, Provincetown, MA
Provincetown has a long history as an arts colony. I’m not aware of any town of its size with the number of art galleries it hosts; there is a full and serious contemporary art museum; and of course the legendary Providence Fine Arts Work Center.
Provincetown was host to many midcentury abstract artists including Franz Kline, Lee Krasner, Robert Motherwell, and Helen Frankenthaler.
I found this work by the contemporary artist James Murray and found the echoes of Constantin Brancusi’s Infinite Column irresistible.
Murray works in the Hudson River Valley, but I found this work in the Hammock Gallery in Provincetown.
I typically collect abstract paintings and works on paper by emerging artists; this is the first time I’ve added a sculpture to my collection.
“Welcome Pole” is seven and a half feet high, and in my living room it gives off an undeniable guardian vibe, friend to us but foe to anyone who might mean ill to us and ours.
One thing I look for in an artwork is the ability to develop a long relationship with it; I want to be able to see something new in it, and in me, over a time span that might be years. (This is one of the reasons I don’t usually collect figurative art; I find that at some point I have seen all I can see in it). The variety and texture, and the mystery of this work (where did the materials come from? what were they used for before? What does it mean)? along with the obvious skill that is not hidden by the rough surface, are the hallmarks of a work that we can grow with over time.
More about James Murray and his work can be found at his website.
A photo of our new friend in situ: