In honor of Marilyn Murphy‘s 37 years of service to the Vanderbilt Department of Art, The Vanderbilt University Fine Arts Gallery is currently exhibiting Realism Subverted – a collection of drawings and paintings featuring dreamlike scenes in which reality and fantasy are cleverly fused together.
Hailing from Tulsa, Oklahoma, Murphy draws great influence from the action of wind and clouds. This, alongside the unforgettable image of sugar cane fires in Queensland, Australia present themselves again and again in Murphy’s artwork. Both muses are beautifully depicted in Oasis and In the Clouds, pictured above.
Her interest in film noir is also made apparent in the content of her artwork. Her figures are rendered with the utmost attention paid to light and shadow, creating a mysterious atmosphere. She presents her characters in curious, investigative situations, emphasizing the acts of seeing, discovery, and creative processes. More often than not, Marilyn enjoys creating narrative images reminiscent of film stills, often playing up an air of mystique and an aura of fascination.
As a child, her mother often took her on factory tours, of which the machinery and images of power and industrialization infiltrate her work. She also draws inspiration from art deco architecture, and dessert cookbooks! A prolific artist, Murphy has done series upon series of dangerous desserts, floating objects, fluffy clouds, inverted architecture, complex machines, 1940’s era figures, maps, floating paper, and the looming danger of natural disasters. Wielding quite the formidable intellect and a propensity for dreaming, Marilyn is able to collage these images into spectacular works of art, utilizing everything from graphite, to colored pencils, and oil paint.
Murphy displays a healthy sense of humor blended together with an intense work ethic and unmatchable creative talent. Her artwork has been shown in over 300 exhibitions internationally. It has been featured in many public and private collections, such as the Kemper Collection in St Louis, the Boston Museum School, the Siena Art Institute in Siena, Italy, and the Oklahoma Museum of Art. The Frist Center for the Visual Arts in Nashville, Tennessee, featured a survey of her work in 2004, and she participated in a two-person exhibition at the Huntsville Museum of Art with Bob Trotman. She is represented by Cumberland Gallery in Nashville, Adler and Co. in San Francisco, Carl Hammer Gallery in Chicago, and Blue Spiral Gallery in Asheville, North Carolina.
Realism Subverted will be on display through March 3rd, 2017. The Fine Arts Gallery is located in Cohen Memorial Hall, 1220 21st Ave. S., on the western edge of the Peabody College campus. Gallery hours are Monday through Friday from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m., and Saturday and Sunday from 1 to 5 p.m.