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Elizabeth Murray: Back in Town

June 12 – October 3, 2021

UB Anderson Gallery

Elizabeth Murray (1940-2007), The New World, 2006. Oil on wood, 96 1/2 x 79 x 1 3/4 inches. © 2021 The Murray-Holman Family Trust/Artists Rights Society, New York. Courtesy of Gladstone Gallery, New York.

This summer the University at Buffalo Art Galleries presents the first major posthumous exhibition of work by pioneering painter Elizabeth Murray (1940–2007). This major survey will span both floors of UB Anderson Gallery presenting a fresh look at important themes and motifs of Murray’s five-decade career.

Elizabeth Murray: Back in Town plots Murray’s career chronologically, including paintings, drawings, and prints that reveal how the early, never before exhibited works she made while based in the San Francisco Bay area and later in Buffalo, relate to the mature painting style that earned her critical acclaim.

The impact of the two years Murray spent in Buffalo working and teaching at Rosary Hill College (now Daemen), has previously been a footnote in her legendary career.  A two-year stopover during her move from San Francisco to New York City. Yet this closer look proves that the Buffalo period didn’t just serve as an extension of her formative years. In Buffalo, as Murray’s acknowledged herself, her work “changed radically,” setting her on a path to become the bold painter known for her wildly shaped canvases—a mix of abstraction and cartoonish figuration. Fortuitously, this survey coincides with the 55-year anniversary of Murray’s solo exhibition at the Tomac Gallery, an artist-run gallery in Buffalo, which ran continuously from 1965-1969.


Elizabeth Murray: Back in Town is organized by Robert Scalise, Director, UB Art Galleries in partnership with The Murray-Holman Family Trust, New York. Generous support is provided by Gladstone Gallery, New York, and Charles Balbach. A fully illustrated catalogue is accompanied with a new essay by Jason Andrew, Director of the Estate of Elizabeth Murray. Pulled from never before published sources and interviews, this essay offers insight to Murray’s arrival and stay in Buffalo