Susie MacMurray - New Now London Tuesday, July 13, 2021 | Phillips

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  • Executed in 2014-15, Susie MacMurray’s Medusa presents an unforgettable female figure formed from handmade copper chain mail over fibreglass and steel armature. The present work is part of a series where the artist creates garment-inspired sculptures, each with a different focal point emphasised by outrageous mediums such as pink balloons, leather, dressmaker needles and even household gloves. Her works exemplify a balancing act exploring perceptions of female identity without being overtly ostentatious yet making commentary on social expectations through visual representation. 

    'They have all been more concerned with the perception of women, their power and their vulnerabilities. I am interested in how human strengths and frailties can often be one and the same thing. I suppose you could almost call them portraits. Much of my sculpture and drawing practice is concerned in one way or another with the perception and negotiation of female identity, both internal and external.'
    —Susie MacMurray
    Medusa embodies the Greek mythology of the famous monster known as the Gorgon. She is usually represented as a winged creature with a head of hair consisting of snakes. She served as a priestess to Athena and was granted the power to turn into stone all who looked upon her. MacMurray thus reinterprets this tale with the snakes pooling around the lower garment, extending their presence outwardly. The coiling and thick layers of their form evoke a sense of dynamism and energy contrasting the calm and smooth surface of the upward body. Medusa in this instance has already been beheaded by the Greek hero Perseus which stiffens her into an object for the pleasure of viewership. This bodily exchange prompts the participants to question the widely accepted narrative and the knowledge of conflict and female identity. 

    'Connected by loss, hope, memory, and the human condition,” the new works draw parallels between conflict ancient and contemporary.'
    —Susie MacMurray

    Formerly trained as a musician, MacMurray’s practice is encouraged by fluidity between powerful dualities- desire and indifference; love and loss; fragility and power; the ephemeral and the visceral. Her works intentionally lack answers, questioning perceived notions of gender, punishment and conflict.


    The artist seated in front of the present work ©Image courtesy of Nazli Erdemirel
    • Provenance

      Merville Galleries, Pulborough
      Acquired from the above by the present owner

    • Exhibited

      New York, Danese Corey, Susie MacMurray: Hinterland, 22 April - 21 May 2016 (another variant exhibited)
      Pangolin London, Susie MacMurray: Murmur, 17 October - 8 May 2020, pp. 96, 97 (another variant exhibited and illustrated)

    • Literature

      Laura Staugaitis, ‘Garment-Like Sculptures by Susie MacMurray Explore Perceptions of Female Identity,’ Colossal, 24 September 2018, online (another variant illustrated)
      Patricia Yaker Ekall, ‘Medusa, the gaze and artistic integrity: an interview with Susie MacMurray, Artuk, 7 August 2020, online (another variant illustrated)



handmade copper chain mail over fibreglass and steel armature
182.9 x 243.8 x 243.8 cm (72 x 95 7/8 x 95 7/8 in.)
Executed in 2014-15, this work is number 1 from an edition of 2 variants.

Full Cataloguing

£30,000 - 50,000 

Contact Specialist

Simon Tovey
Head of New Now Sale
+44 20 7318 4084

New Now

London Auction 13 July 2021