JULIE MURRAY: Mysteries of the Visible World

Irish-born Julie Murray’s works of the past decade further expand her singular, personal world of pictures and sounds as moments of intimate exploration and visceral sensation. Murray’s cinema discovers remarkable patterns and textures in ordinary objects – details filled with wonder that are impossible to see with the naked eye. A wizard with the camera, Murray is a master of texture, light, and the creative uses of sound, yielding complex montage works that imbue each element with ambiguity and evocative mystery. For her first REDCAT program since 2010, Murray presents several recent films, such as Line of Apsides (2015), Untitled (time)(2019) and Oibre An Lae (the day’s work) (2019, shot in Ireland). Highly regarded as an experimental artist, she has been included in the Whitney Biennial, the Museum of Modern Art, international film festivals, and her work is included in collections of major museums.
Julie Murray: Shored Against A Ruin. Still Courtesy of the Artist.
In person: Julie Murray
“Julie Murray is one of the most significant female experimental filmmakers of the last twenty-five years, creating a beautiful and subtle body of work that moves between meticulously edited found footage films to richly beautiful first-person visual diary films.”
LIFT, Toronto
“…a short, enigmatic gem… a film that offers a feeling, rather than a story. It hints at something that might have always existed with us, in us. And like a song you can listen to repeatedly, it leaves enough room for personalization, for our own stories to fill in its cracks.”
– Senses of Cinema
Our Eyes Are Armed But We Are Strangers To The Stars (2016)
digital video, sound, 13 mins
Scenes and sounds in a montage in musical form. The camera, a toy, records only in a crude black and white, Its plastic lens softens pictorial detail, creating room for the mind’s eye to roam and query, or not, the nature of image, meaning and attachments.
Frequency Objects (2013)
digital video, sound, 5 mins
 A photogram film composed of negatives from family photographs, objects and found fragments of 35mm movie film. Coherent and incoherent motion holds figures – aunts and uncles well-travelled – half in and out of the frame, their faces apparitional among the shadows cast by scraps of fabric, leaves, springs and some mushroom spores.
Untitled (time) (2018)
digital video, sound, 16 mins
 Various reels of found 35mm movie film are pulled over a light box under the fixed gaze of video capture. Through veils of apparent motion, the movements of characters can be discerned and their motivations artfully speculated upon.
An oblique tribute to Pere Portabella’s Vampir-Cuadecuc (1970), narrative and plot in Untitled (time) are progressively subsumed in a switching and swaying abstraction to percussion rhythms crashed out on cymbals.
The Cow’s Croon sung by Marie Ní Shúilleabháin
Recorded by Alan Lomax in 1951 in Ballylicky, Co.Cork, Ireland       Quicktime file: 1.5 mins
Oibre An Lae (the day’s work) (2019)
16mm, silent, 15 mins
The toil of light and limb at Dublin’s Botanical Gardens, on some overgrown Sycamore trees in the Southwest and at the Drombeg stone circle.
Shored Against A Ruin (2009 – 2016)
digital video, sound, 10 mins
 A landscape portrait of lake and sky, of epic vastness, condensing a pervading anxiety conveyed through quotidian images of its use; boating, flying, beaching. The place where water meets land; the shore is shaped by the water and the waves are ruined by the contours of the land. It is the busiest of places, continuously working itself out.
Root Pull Summer 2013 (2013)
Super-8 in camera edit
digital video, sound, 2.5 mins
 An in-camera edit recording the struggle of uprooting of a shrub and the fast light of the evening sun.
Line of Apsides (2015)
16mm, silent, 12 mins
 At The Film Farm in Ontario among other places. Things, animate and inert were examined through the viewfinder and under a microscope, and goats were interviewed daily. Thoughts coaxed into light in about the order they were encountered.   
Julie Murray was born in Ireland and has lived in the US for the past three decades.
She began her art career in painting and mixed media, and, beginning with Super-8 format, gradually moved to filmmaking. She currently works in both film and video media, exploring the perceptual frictions between the two materials.
Her work is held in a number of collections including The Museum of Modern Art’s Film Archives as well as the Whitney Museum of American Art and the New York Public Library’s Special Collections, at Lincoln Center, NYC.
Her films regularly screen at festivals in the US and abroad. They have been included in The New York Film Festival, Images Festival, Rotterdam International Film Festival, Rencontres Paris/Berlin, and have exhibited at the Museum of Modern Art and in the 2004 Whitney Biennial.
Murray has presented her films in retrospectives and special programs at Anthology Film Archives, NY, Los Angeles Filmforum, Pacific Film Archives, San Francisco and more recently at The Irish Film Institute/ AEMI Dublin and, upcoming, at Ambulante Festival in Mexico.
Murray’s early super-8 films, created in San Francisco in the late 1980s among the endless unfolding of limitless potential when everything was fuel for the imagination and the city held its artists close, were selected for a National Film Preservation Foundation Award in 2014.
For more information, please visit: https://julifilm.org/
Curated by Steve Anker and Bérénice Reynaud as part of the Jack H. Skirball Series. Funded in part by the Ostrovsky Family Fund.