The Blue Hour is Ruth Murray’s second show inspired by the work of Jean Rhys. This exhibition takes its name from Jean Rhys’s favourite perfume, L’Heure Bleue, a melancholic fragrance intended to evoke Paris at dusk. According to Lilian Pizzichini’s biography, while Jean Rhys saw herself as an underdog by day, the blue hour was when she became a wolf. Underneath the mannered surface lurks a predator, and wolves hunt best during twilight. She was always concerned with what lay beneath the top notes.
Ruth Murray’s paintings are about the experiences of women – most of her paintings are of women in a scene. Sometimes the viewer is confronted with enigmatic behaviours (there’s always something private and inaccessible about the subjects); and at other times rituals, symbols and tokens are used to disrupt the reading of the image. It’s not a radical effect: more a gentle skewing. Sometimes it’s the slightest gesture that feels most significant.