Murray Kropf teaches drawing, painting, sculpture, senior course studies and manages tutorial course placements related to arts administration and teaching of the arts. His work is primarily in the area of painting and drawing, but also includes photography. More recently he has been researching the “Alternative Work Service” program of World War II, a unique program designed for the Mennonite conscientious objectors. The main body of work, drawings and paintings, have developed into variations on the “Still Life” and are discussed briefly in the following excerpt from an essay written by Derek Knight.
“Since the early 1990’s, Kropf has worked to hone the thematics of still life on a scale in keeping with such precedents as Wanda Koop, Donald Sultan or Gerhard Richter. The evolution of these works perhaps given his purpose of mind has been towards a singular still life element: crockery in candlelight and more recently, full canvases of amphorae, lemons, and candles, each painted in dramatic tones and commanding scale. Within the phenomenological world of objects these works either confront or elevate the banal to a visual and sensory level that would seem to be uniquely determined by the painter’s visual memory. In deft strokes, brooding tones and saturated if sensually gilded edges, Kropf coins a vocablary that one associates historically with the rich symbolism of Ozias Leduc or the neo romanticism of Donald Sultan or David Bierk. We are confronted with the sheer pleasure of the surface in these canvases as well as the impact of the dramatic scale of objects he portrays – first captured with a camera in order to fix the accidental or fugitive light that concentrated looking too often overlooks. The vagaries of soft focus, shadowed form and the task of transposing or filtering the object through the lens of the camera, allows the act of painting – the process itself – to reign supreme as if both an autonomous and self-divining experience”.