While visiting the UCSD campus, Murray was drawn to a grove of diminutive eucalyptus trees near the theaters and drama department. The image of a shoe emerged quickly, prompting Murray's first fully three-dimensional site work. "It was like taking one of the paintings and filling it up with air, which feels to me something that they are already trying to do. Like blowing themselves up somehow; there's a lot of pressure from the inside," she explained.*
Having considered a variety of materials -- including concrete and fiberglass -- Murray chose laminated wood and a boatlike construction plainly visible inside the shoe. Constructed over the course of 1996 in Murray's New York studio, Red Shoe has brought to life a formerly forgotten corner of campus. It is an alluring place for children to climb, its smooth exterior giving way to a roughly hull-like interior, hinting at the enclosure of a nest or fort. Narratives come to mind as fantasy evokes the resonance of childhood rhymes and tales. In the words of Robert Storr, Dean of the Yale University School of Art, "Reason presides over universities; it remains for artists to give substance to those areas of consciousness that reason has not and perhaps cannot articulate."
"Elizabeth Murray is one of America's great painters and I thought it would be interesting to bring the "hand" of a painter into the Stuart Collection. She came and we walked and talked and she decided she would like to try to make a full-fledged sculpture for the campus. In her early years she was greatly influenced by film and by Disney, cartoons, stories and movement. She has put shoes - as well as common objects such as tables, chairs, cups, dishes, in many paintings. For us she chose to make a shoe running through a small forest at the edge of campus. This image recalls seeing a shoe by the side of the road: where did it come from? why is it there? where is the other one? to whom did it belong? Her shoe leaves a "wake" of bright wooden stones or gems as it races along. Her shoe can be climbed on and into by children who might see it as a fort. It could refer to the old woman who lived in a shoe. The crane operator installing it thought it looked like a duck! Elizabeth felt that she wished she could have made it larger. She made it as large as she could in her New York studio. It was like a growing monster there for nearly 2 years. We think it is a playful, happy and remarkable contribution to the campus." - Mary Beebe, Stuart Collection Director
- Creation Date
Revelle College: University of California, San Diego; La Jolla, California, United States
- Physical Description
laminated cedar boards, carved and painted; 12 feet (height)
- Corporate Name
Point: 32.871092, -117.24246
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Architecture and City Planning
Garden and Landscape
Sculpture and Installations
- Rights Holder
- UC Regents
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