Kidd Murray turns a saturated and glossy lens onto the world of consumerism
The Glasgow-based painter has recently finished up a body of work made under the theme of 'fruits'. In this series, you'll find sparkly strawberries, luminous lemons and lacy cherries sprinkled with jewels – a nod to consumerism and the effects of advertising.
Inspiration can arise in many forms, be it moments of daily life to a song, piece of art or a book. Kidd Murray, an artist from a town called Darvel in East Ayrshire, Scotland, cites multiple factors as her influences – "a lot of which gets absorbed by my subconscious, and it can be difficult to pinpoint the exact origin of my ideas." And sometimes, she'll only notice the specific influences behind a piece once it's finished.
However, in her most recent body of work, Kidd has been looking at advertisements and the consumerist landscape – the "commodification and commercialisation of nature". This type of work is everywhere, from supermarkets to shops, gardens and domestic environments. "Visually, I'm drawn to anything bright, hyper-feminine, pink and fluffy," she says. "I associate this 2000s' bad it's so good' vibe with the height of materialism." She then coins these references with the surrealist movement, taking cues from modern-day painters like Julie Curtiss, Sarah Slappey and Kisten Deirup, and in turn applying their eye for form and function in with her own trippy artworks.
At 19, Kidd decided to study painting and printmaking at Glasgow School of Art before graduating in 2017 and finding a studio in the south side of Glasgow, where she still resides. To support her artistic endeavours, Kidd works both part and full-time, "which means squeezing in as much studio time as I can on my days off." Coupled with a mix of gallery jobs since leaving school, Kidd is clearly a hard grafter for achieving her goals. And now, Kidd has recently sent off some work to the House of Fine Art in London. "My work has developed a lot over the last year. I think this is partly due to being able to work full-time in the studio and becoming more confident in my skills and ideas."
In Kidd's latest portfolio – and in a series of glossy paintings made under the theme of 'fruits' – you'll see two sparkly strawberries sat side by side, illuminated by the romantic light of the moon. In another, you'll see a long-nailed hand squeezing a luminous lemon segment into a bowl, and in another, there's a couple of velvety cherries lavished in hot pink. "My work plays with an extreme, amplified and sort of playful narrative where the phenotypic traits have been so modified that the produce has begun to resemble something ornamental and decorative," she explains. "They are adorned with diamanté jewels in place of seeds and hair in place of stalks and leaves. The diamanté jewels represent the artificiality of the produce."
In a subtle (or maybe not so subtle) gesture towards consumerism, Kidd turns a sharp and comical lens onto the world of advertising. So what does she hope to achieve from her overly saturated and lively pieces? "I think primarily I want people to be drawn in by the playfulness of the work before considering the more serious undertone of sustainability."
Some have described her artistic style as being "weird", which is something that Kidd adores considering she wants to catch peoples' attention – or better yet, make them laugh or feel uncertain about what they're looking at. "I like to think, even if it's subconsciously, that the seriousness of what I'm trying to convey gets through to the viewer. I want them to think twice about our very complex relationship with nature and for them to be more aware of how we interact with it."