Stuart Murray's first major London solo exhibition, as part of the Jerwood Artists Platform presents an extensive body of drawings in 'homework-jotter' style books and small folios.
Mostly self-published Murray's books of lo-tech illustrations builds up in sections to create a picture of a spectrum of disparate, fleeting communities from his dejected workmates to beggars, junkies, prostitutes, alcoholics and the starving that make up the world that he encounters. His pictorial meanderings of chance meetings in workplaces, bars and doorways are annotated with quotations from the depicted depressed and dispossessed.
Touchingly real, much of the power of Murray's portraits lies in these verbal ramblings of his characters. Untidy, yet meticulous, each centre page, scratchy, line drawing makes visible the hidden undercurrents of his home city of Glasgow.
There is no contextualisation within his publications. The strength of the book format is its cumulative effect, the way in which the progression of anonymous characters seems to become increasingly familiar. Hovering between tragedy and comedy Murray deftly surveys political issues and the plight of people marginalised by the mainstream. Whilst giving the reader a firm nudge in the ribs to remind them of the people they have failed to see on their way to the gallery.