Five drawings originally published in The Drouth ‘deviant’ issue in 2007 along with Mitch Miller’s accompanying text.


Away and do your homework!: 5 pages from Stuart Murray

Can Stuart Murray draw? Does he choose not to? Does it really matter?
For some years now the Glasgow artist has produced, with near-obsessive
asperity his homework-jotter-style booklets of pictorial meanderings
through bars, doorways and recently, the National Portrait Gallery of
Scotland. Should we be covering our ‘Stuart Murrays’ with old bits of
wallpaper and popping them into our satchels when we hit the town? What
do these homework exercises, so untidy yet so oddly meticulous, centred
on the page by the force of Murray’s obsession, teach us about the
world at large?

Much of the power of Murray’s work lies in the invective, rants and
verbal rambles scooped out of everyday life and language and recorded
in his sloping handwriting. Writing and drawing contest space on the
five pages we’ve set aside for him here; his bar crawlers and
beer-bowsers seem to be extensions of their own words; doodles in the
margins of some never-ending round of existential homework. Did he draw
out these yarns as he heard them (If so, did he double take at the
mention of ‘lager enemas’ – see below)? Murray gives us an inky, oddly
authentic worldview that makes his position upfront and obvious; he is
no cool professional that turns his subject into a sleek, slick
coffee-table set-piece, but a part of the subject. And perhaps this is
why his drawings are so defiantly unfinished – there is no convenient
endpoint for those of us who are already there.

Yes, Stuart Murray had definitely done his homework.

Speaking of which, one last question before you hand your sheets in for
marking. Is it stretching it to compare his brand of rude
draughtsmanship and homespun publishing to the Youtube generation
currently making waves on web, film and telly? Ya-tube!, might of
course be more appropriate.

 

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