Murphy is not trying to create an exact record of the landscape – he allows the mood and atmosphere of a place to find distant echoes within his own sensibility.
. . .
What seems at first profoundly unnatural, is revealed as merely another way of portraying what is most natural – to get beneath the skin of appearances and unearth the fundamental character of the country. To be more literary, one might call it the genius loci – the spirit of place.
. . .
The colours Murphy uses are as much a product of his mind as they are of the landscape. In this sense he is more of a Symbolist than an Impressionist, relying on the ‘inner eye’ rather than the retina. He takes the data of the physical world and sifts through it, like a prospector panning for gold, seeking to capture what is most valuable. He is not merely responding to what he sees, but to the feelings a scene engenders in his own peculiar psyche – and I’m not using the word ‘peculiar’ in a derogatory manner.
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Sydney Morning Herald