Keyhole is a painting from 1982 by Elizabeth Murray, an American artist known for her ability to explore feelings through pictorial issues of edge, support and surface. The painting features layered canvases built up around a hole in the center, mimicking a keyhole that leaves the viewer searching for the key. This piece is just one example of Murray’s work that straddles the line between abstraction and recognizable imagery.
Murray, who passed away in 2007, was known for her use of bright, garish colors to portray objects, people, relationships and emotions. Her complete body of work is currently showcased at exhibitions across the world with a focus on her shaped canvas works and cartoonish drawing style.
In “Keyhole,” Murray’s play between abstraction and representation guides viewers through the depths around this central hole as she maintains tension between two- or three-dimensionality that makes us pause before crossing into different areas. Through her exploration of these pictorial tensions and balances, she creates an audacious synthesis that speaks to more than just form but also to human experience.”