As an artist, I paint with the attentiveness of a scientist, observing our natural world beyond the visible surface. My interest lies in the interconnected qualities of art and science, specifically the birds and stars that inhabitant the sky above us. The vastness of the sky provides perspective to our humanity. While painting, I am aware of being both infinitesimally minute and integrally part of a larger whole. It is this dichotomy that attracts me to birds that can occupy two concurrent physical spaces, that of land and air. Spring and fall migratory constellations provide metaphors for structure, pattern, and content in my work. I am fascinated by the intelligence by which birds navigate seasonally, traveling hundreds of miles using star patterns as a map. Birds possess a highly sophisticated collective consciousness that allow them to communicate in song and in mumurations of flight.
Through the act of painting I am simultaneously part of the matrix of life and an observer of nature. The scientific data of flight maps and seasonal constellations is visualized into patterns and becomes a language to describe my relationship to nature, to the inter-connected quality in our lives. Convection currents that allow birds to loft and soar for hundreds of miles, become a formal compositional tool in my paintings. Ultimately the flock patterns reveal mental maps, illuminating a path to seeing the world anew. These patterns become metaphors to explore our humanity as part of a much bigger world than we imagine.
– Deirdre Murphy, 2018
Deirdre Murphy has exhibited internationally and extensively in the United States in museums, galleries and institutions including Philadelphia, New York, Chicago, Delaware, Minnesota, Washington and Oregon. Her work has been exhibited at institutions including the Philadelphia International Airport, Palm Springs Museum of Art, Biggs Museum of American Art, New Bedford Art Museum, Tacoma Art Museum, University of Pennsylvania and Pennsylvania Academy of Fine Art. The recipient of numerous awards and grants, most notably a Percent for the Arts sculpture commission (Dublin, CA) the Pennsylvania Council for the Arts Fellowship and a Leeway Foundation award, she has been an artist-in-residence at Lacawac Field Station (PA), Powdermill Nature Reserve (PA), Hawk Mountain Sanctuary (PA), Vermont Studio Center (VT) and Pouch Cove Artist Residency (St. Johns, Newfoundland). Her work has been published in Symbiosis, New American Paintings and Fresh Paint Magazine. Murphy’s work can be found in various public and private collections including Colorado Springs Fine Arts Center Museum, Temple University, AlphaMed Press and Gamblin Artists Colors.
Deirdre Murphy earned her MFA degree from the University of Pennsylvania and her BFA degree from the Kansas City Art Institute. Murphy is an adjunct professor at the University of Pennsylvania and been a visiting artist at Philadelphia Museum of Art, Pennsylvania College of Design and University of Texas, Philadelphia University, Kent State University & Dickenson College. Deirdre Murphy is represented by the Gross McCleaf Gallery (Philadelphia), Boxheart Gallery (Pittsburgh) and Zinc Contemporary Gallery (Seattle).
Photography credit: Rebecca McAlpin