John Murray


John Murray is a South African painter living and working in Cape Town South Africa. Finding significance in the contrasting states between the tangible and the imperceptible, playfulness and seriousness, Murray moves between representational and nonrepresentational forms.

Working in oil on canvas as well as in collage and bricolage, the images used in his figurative compositions are often interpretations of found objects and photographs. Some of these images have specific cultural, historical or political significance, while others are trivia collected from the artist’s everyday surroundings. These composite images or compositions prompt viewer specific responses and associations, with the juxtaposition of images acting as triggers or catalysts for meaning.

More recently Murray’s work has leaned towards abstraction, not in its purest sense but rendered in a way that still hints at representational forms beneath the surface. These works originally inspired by the different colors and hues that accumulated on the artists mixing pallets whist working have evolved in to an ongoing series of paintings that allude structures that are simultaneously in the process of forming or perhaps disintegrating.

Selected Solo Exhibitions

2021 To and Fro, WHATIFTHEWORLD, Cape Town
2019 Sum of its Parts - WHATIFTHEWORLD, Cape Town
2017 Aftermath - WHATIFTHEWORLD, Johannesburg
2015 Undo All - WHATIFTHEWORLD, Cape Town
2014 Southern Guild 2013. Museum of African Design (MOAD), Johannesburg
2013 Ecstatic Entropy - WHATIFTHEWORLD, Cape Town
2012 Flotsam&Jetsam, Artspace Gallery, Johannesburg
2005 Africa for Africans, Stevenson, Cape Town

Selected Group Exhibitions

2015 2015 Joburg Art Fair - WHATIFTHEWORLD, Sandton Convention Centre, Johannesburg
2013 The Loom of the Land, Stevenson, Johannesburg
Positive Tension - WHATIFTHEWORLD, Cape Town
Stellenbosch Revisited, Sasol Museum, Stellenbosch
Group exhibition curated by Julia Meintjes, Cavalli Gallery, Somerset West
2012 Making Faces: Exploring Contemporary Practice Through Portraiture, WHATIFTHEWORLD, Cape Town
Tjorts!/Cheers!, Association for Visual Arts (AVA), Cape Town
2011 Thinking Around: Mapping Sculpture, Tokara Gallery
Art on Paper - selection of South African art on paper, Casa Labia Gallery, Cape Town
Thami Mnyele Foundation - 20 years, CBK Zuidoost, Amsterdam, Holland
Ik ben een Afrikander, Artspace Gallery, Johannesburg
Contemporary South African Painters, Kalk Bay Modern, Cape Town
2010 99c, Platform on 18th, Pretoria Rose Korber Art Salon, Cape Town
2009 Spaza Sketsboek, Platform on 18th, Pretoria
2005 Art @ Work: A decade and more of the Sasol art collection, Oudtshoorn Arts Festival
South African Art 1840-Now, Michael Stevenson, Cape Town


2023 Upside Down
2021 To and Fro

Art Fairs

Art Cologne 2023
FNB Art Joburg 2023
NOMAD Capri 2023
Cape Town Art Fair 2023
Joburg Art Fair 2022
Cape Town Art Fair 2022