History And Context
The Sun and the Moon, like much of Elizabeth Murray’s artwork is ambiguous, balancing opposing moods and references. The easy to read shapes and vivid colors in seem to convey a sense of liveliness and Murray credited cartoons and comic strips as influences on her work. Meanwhile, many of the painting’s abstract and figurative shapes also evoke feelings of anxiety and struggle. At the right side, a pink figure with red surgical stitches pushes away from a cluster of dizzying shapes including cracked musical notations. A mewing orange cat—perhaps Abraham, Murray’s pet—weaves around the figure’s legs. Murray composed The Sun and the Moon at home while she was recovering from brain surgery, using whatever colors and brushes were at hand, making adjustments later.