Cora Gordon opens a Charles Murray exhibition in Yorkshire, 1949

The Yorkshire Post and Leeds Intelligencer of Saturday 5th February 1949 carried the following story:

"Mrs. Cora Gordon, the artist and author, will open an exhibition of recent paintings Mr. Charles Murray, at the Art Gallery, Batley. 

It is appropriate that this one-man show should be held Yorkshire; for Mr. Murray, though an Aberdonian by birth, worked for years in Leeds and has been a consistent contributor to Yorkshire exhibitions. Indeed, we unblushingly claim him as a Yorkshire artist, though Aberdeen may have other views. 

His reputation is now national. Twice In the past few years has had successful one-man shows in London, and work by him has been included in an exhibition sent abroad by the British Council.

Those unfamiliar with the idioms of modern art may find the present exhibition startling at first sight. There is more than a hint of Picasso in some of these works; and the very mention of Picasso's name seems sufficient to start a controversy. But the open-minded visitor to the Bagshaw Gallery will be struck at once by the beauty of colour in these paintings. Looking further, he will find that they are extremely well designed. He will find also that any departure from natural appearance has been made with the object of expressing feeling. 

There is nothing wilfully obscurantist, or meaningless, about Mr. Murray's distortion of form. If he paints the head of Christ, as he has done here, in tortured shapes, it to convey the anguish of the Cross.  These studies the suffering of Christ are remarkable for their intensity of feeling. The most Impressive (No. 22)  is a painting of great dignity and power. 

This an exhibition which anyone interested the modern movement in painting should make a point of seeing. It will remain until March 5. Mr. R. W. Gelsthorpe, Curator of the Gallery, should be complimented on his enterprise securing it for Batley and the sensitive care with which he has hung the paintings."

In less serious works Mr. Murray shows a similar command of expressive form. With this goes the subtle use of rhythm to suggest movement and mood. "The Dancers" is an excellent example of the artist's skill this respect; so also is "The Spirit of the Risen Christ" with its vivid feeling of upward movement.

A biography of Charles Murray (1894-1954) together with a selection of his artworks can be found here, with his "The Resurrection" viewable here.


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