Untitled (Six Blue Spirit Forms)

Media - 1997.124.122 - SAAM-1997.124.122_1 - 53873
Copied J. B. Murray, Untitled (Six Blue Spirit Forms), 1970s, tempera on paper, Smithsonian American Art Museum, Gift of Chuck and Jan Rosenak and museum purchase through the Luisita L. and Franz H. Denghausen Endowment, 1997.124.122

Artwork Details

Title
Untitled (Six Blue Spirit Forms)
Artist
Date
1970s
Location
Not on view
Dimensions
19 1225 12 in. (49.564.8 cm)
Credit Line
Gift of Chuck and Jan Rosenak and museum purchase through the Luisita L. and Franz H. Denghausen Endowment
Mediums
Mediums Description
tempera on paper
Classifications
Keywords
  • Abstract
Object Number
1997.124.122

Artwork Description

"Everything I see is from the sun," Murray said in 1986, recalling a vision that led to his art making. Murray described seeing a golden light and an eagle flying past the sun as well as deceased family members. He began scrawling in asemic script--something that looks like writing but contains no actual words. Murray's practice fused Baptist Christianity with African American folkways that freely comingle doctrine with belief in magic and the powers of the natural world. "It is the language of the Holy Spirit, direct from God," Murray said of his script-like drawings. He urged people to read his messages through a vial of water, believing that the pure of heart would be able to interpret them.