Macau-based artist Denis Murrell showcased his artworks in his first commercial exhibition at realty agency Ambiente’s main office.
The exhibition was part of a series called Art@Ambiente. As explained by the firm’s managing director, Suzanne Watkinson, this move highlights and consolidates the firm’s position as its client’s lifestyle solution.
Although she admitted that realty operations are the firm’s “bread and butter”, it is crucial to stress that it is not all about leasing and buying. There are other ways in which a realty firm should show its colors.
Murrell, an Australian native who moved to Macau in 1989, has gained an enthusiastic following of students, friends, art collectors and general admirers of his art since his move to Macau. His paintings have been exhibited in Macau and overseas and can be found in many public and private collections. The techniques of his particular style of painting make use of acrylic and other water-based pigments, Chinese ink and all types of absorbent tissue.
Describing the exhibition, he said it was unique: since previously, he only held exhibitions with schools and museums, among others. Doing a session at a commercial entity is a first for him.
In the city’s artistic landscape, “there has been a lot of training going on since the handover,” he recalled. He pointed out that there are a lot of programs and institutions training young artists, but the city’s small size has left them lesser chances of holding larger-scale exhibitions.
Furthermore, artists in Macau are usually part-timers, meaning that they have to do art on the side of their regular or main working hours. “Even me, I do some part-time teaching,” Murrell admitted.
Moreover, even when students have the energy or dedication to continue painting at home, they may not have enough space. They may need to take into account the feelings of family members, or the responsibility of taking care of children.
He stressed that there is no such thing as a “weekend painter” if an individual wants to be an artist. “The wheels get rusty,” Murrell said, commenting on the issue. “You need to keep it up [to] get good work out of it.”
Macau has the resources to train good artists, he concluded, but the problem is that there is not enough space for creating and exhibiting arts. In that case, he said, “[artists] won’t improve or develop.”
Murrell won the first prize for Western painting in the Second Macau Biennial Art Exhibition in 1995. In November 2012, the Macau Museum of Art held an exhibition of over 20 works that Murrell had donated over the years to the museum’s collection, as well as those that had come into the museum’s possession in other ways.