“I am large, I contain multitudes” / Walt Whitman, Leaves of Grass
As an artist, my paintings, prints, sculpture and public art are made 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 micro / macro patterns that reveal our connectedness; be it migratory avian flight patterns shared commonality with immigration routes, or how light pollution maps mirror viral molecular patterns, or aerial views of watershed systems that reveal vascular patterns. Through the act of creating, I am aware of being both infinitesimally minute and integrally part of a larger whole. It is this dichotomy and the vastness of these images that provides perspective to our humanity.
Residencies with scientists support the research that goes into my studio practice and enable a level of collaboration and interdisciplinary study that is only possible by working side by side in the laboratory. Hawk Mountain Sanctuary, Powdermill Nature Reserve ( Bio Field Station for Avian Research / Carnegie Museum of Natural History), Lacawac (Bio field Station, Drexel University) and Integral Molecular, (University City Science Center) gave me direct access to scientists, their laboratory experiments and data. Each residency culminates in projects such as, “Warbler Migration”, a permanent public art installation in Dublin, California; where migratory flight maps of the Orange Crowned Warbler, a threatened indigenous species, created a sculpture that speaks to my interest in conservation and environmental justice. Most recently, in a mural commissioned by Dickinson College, I used avian census, watershed maps, and nitrate levels to create a 25’ mural in an interdepartmental effort across the art and biology departments to bring awareness to environmental conservation efforts.
Recent collaborations with Integral Molecular, a molecular laboratory that focuses on curing viruses such as Ebola and HIV will culminate in a solo exhibition at the Esther Klein Gallery, a science, art and technology gallery in Philadelphia in August 2019. The Lacawac residency artwork will be on view at the University of Maine Museum of Art in a solo exhibition in January 2020.
Through the act of making, I am simultaneously part of the diminutive matrix of nature and an observer of our capacious world. Visualizing the scientific data of flight maps and molecular structures became a language to describe my relationship to nature and to the inter-connected quality in our lives, thus illuminating a path to seeing the world anew.
– Deirdre Murphy, 2019
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