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Work Samples

Vanitas - Women of Change

oil on wood panel 48" x 48" 2020

Fresh Flowers.jpg

Fresh Flowers, oil on paper, 30" h x 22" w each 2019 - 2020 My oil on paper flower paintings are compositions based on familiar and shared cultural artifacts. Vowing to paint one a week during the impeachment trial I frequented Trader Joe’s and other grocery stores to purchase flowers and the vases I purchased at Ikea, West Elm and second hand stores. These artifacts are steeped in cultural ideas of beauty, class and domestic space through their commercial accessibility and price point; some are mass produced and inexpensive while others are unique and or “designer”.

1-cmu wall.jpg

1 in 5, installation at Central Michigan University. Three watercolor, acrylic, collage paintings on paper mounted on a hand stenciled wallpaper reading 1 in 5, the sexual assault statistics on college campuses. Installation dimensions: 18’w, 10’ h, 2016 Paintings left to right: Red Dress acrylic paint and watercolor on paper 40” x 26”, 2016 Flower Dress acrylic paint and watercolor on paper 60” x 40”, 2016 Rose Dress acrylic paint, watercolor and collage on paper 40” x 26”, 2015

08 Murphy Women in Black.jpg

Women in Black, series of mixed media paintings, silkscreen, acrylic and watercolor on paper, 2018

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About Margaret

Baltimore City - Station North A&E District

Margaret Murphy's picture
  Margaret received her MFA from Rutgers University Mason Gross School of the Arts and her undergraduate degree from Towson University graduating with honors from the art department.    Margaret has exhibited her paintings and works on paper internationally and has received awards and fellowships from the Pollock-Krasner Foundation, the State Arts Council of NJ, Puffin Foundation, Change Inc. and the McDowell Colony. She is included on the Elizabeth A. Sackler Center for... more

Vanitas

The two large Vanitas paintings pay tribute to individuals whose lives took on a public identity as cultural influencers or agents of change. The flower arrangements; symbolic and larger than life, are still life paintings that respond to “momentous events of history” while honoring the individual whose private life became public. The paintings are inspired by Dutch flower paintings, filled with symbolism and color devises that reinforce the historic event or people the painting is honoring. In Vanitas, Women of Change the preponderance of yellow and white flowers represent the suffragettes while the bee is a nod to Beyoncé (Queen B), and lady bugs can be found in all prosperous gardens like the flower arrangement depicted that honors women who have changed the world. In Vanitas, Black Lives Matter, the flowers are mostly perennials, symbolizing the lasting and continually recurring nature of the violence against African Americans by law enforcement. The name tributes continue to fall from the flower arrangement symbolizing the passage of time and perennial nature of the violence. 

Fresh Flowers

The paintings, Fresh Flowers,  I began when 1st the impeachment trials started and vowed to make one a week until DJT was impeached. I felt the need to create objects of beauty to comfort the fatigue we all feel, especially women in the age of Trump. Flower paintings have always been considered a lesser form of painting, concerned with the senses therefore not serious. My flower paintings are strongly asserted images of form, beauty and design meant to assert themselves boldly and unapologetically.

According to Norman Bryson, still life painting is “at a level of existence where events are not at all large-scale, momentous events of History, but the small-scale, forgettable acts of bodily survival and self-maintenance”. It is with this thought in mind that I painted flowers, in part as a form of self-maintenance; and as impeachment trials lead to a global pandemic and racial justice protests, the paintings grew to respond to the events of history unfolding. My oil on paper and wood panel flower paintings are compositions based on familiar and shared cultural artifacts.
 

  • Fresh Flowers.jpg

    Fresh Flowers, oil on paper, 30" h x 22" w each 2019 - 2020 My oil on paper flower paintings are compositions based on familiar and shared cultural artifacts. Vowing to paint one a week during the impeachment trial I frequented Trader Joe’s and other grocery stores to purchase flowers and the vases I purchased at Ikea, West Elm and second hand stores. These artifacts are steeped in cultural ideas of beauty, class and domestic space through their commercial accessibility and price point; some are mass produced and inexpensive while others are unique and or “designer”.
  • Murphy-Margaret8.jpg

    painting, still life
    Fresh Flowers, oil on paper 2019 - 2020
  • Fresh Flowers #3.jpg

    Fresh Flowers #3 oil on paper, 30" h x 22"w
  • Fresh Flower #4.jpg

    Fresh Flowers #4, oil on paper, 30"h x 22"w 2019
  • Fresh Flower #6.jpg

    Fresh Flower #6 oil on paper, 30" x 22", 2019

1 in 5

 1 in 5, installation at Central Michigan University. Three watercolor, acrylic, collage paintings on paper mounted on a hand stenciled wallpaper reading 1 in 5, the sexual assault statistics on college campuses. Installation dimensions: 18’w, 10’ h, 2016
Paintings left to right:
 
Red Dress
acrylic paint and watercolor on paper
40” x 26”, 2016
 
Flower Dress
acrylic paint and watercolor on paper
60” x 40”, 2016
 
Rose Dress
acrylic paint, watercolor and collage on paper
40” x 26”, 2015
 

  • cmuwall2-72.jpg

    1 in 5 installation view, Central Michigan University, 2016
  • flower1n5.jpg

    Flower Dress, 60"h x 40"w with hand stenciled wall. Acrylic and watercolor on paper.
  • 2-Rose DRess.jpg

    Rose Dress, acrylic paint, watercolor and collage on paper 40” x 26”, 2015
  • 1-cmu wall.jpg

    1 in 5, installation at Central Michigan University. Three watercolor, acrylic, collage paintings on paper mounted on a hand stenciled wallpaper reading 1 in 5, the sexual assault statistics on college campuses. Installation dimensions: 18’w, 10’ h, 2016 Paintings left to right: Red Dress acrylic paint and watercolor on paper 40” x 26”, 2016 Flower Dress acrylic paint and watercolor on paper 60” x 40”, 2016 Rose Dress acrylic paint, watercolor and collage on paper 40” x 26”, 2015

Dresses

My figurative mixed media work explores the construction of gender through everyday objects and artifacts. The discussion of power and class, closely related to gender, play an important role in my work as well. 
In my paintings of clothing, I examine the print, color, form and gender of the clothes to invite a dialogue about cultural norms and gender tropes.
            My paintings are watercolor and acrylic often incorporating printmaking and collage with paint. I draw on the formal elements of scale, color and texture to reinforce the ideas in my work. 

Women in Black

Women in Black series
2016
silkscreen, watercolor and acrylic on paper
19 1/4" h x 13" w each

The “Women in Black” paintings (in a black silkscreened frame) I started in Michigan around the time of the 2016 election. I heard a story about women in Poland protesting the anti-choice legislation there and thousands of women left work, school, home,etc. and went into the streets all in black to protest. My series with the silkscreened frames with black clothing inside is my version of this protest after the 2016 election. I used back clothes from thrift stores, my closet, on line, friends clothes etc. The idea is that they are everyday women’s clothing. The laws controlling women’s bodies and choice effect everyday women…The clothes needn’t be formal mourning clothes.
I silkscreened the frame as the constant in the paintings then painted a different article of clothing in each frame.