Deirdre Murphy's paintings, prints, sculpture, and public art are made with the attentiveness of a scientist, observing our natural world beyond the visible surface. Her 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, Murphy is 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 her studio work 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 her 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 Murphy's interest in conservation and environmental justice. Most recently, in a mural commissioned by Dickinson College, she 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, Murphy is 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 her relationship to nature and to the inter-connected quality in our lives, thus illuminating a path to seeing the world anew.
Murphy has exhibited internationally and extensively in the United States in museums, galleries, and institutions including Philadelphia, Pittsburgh, New York, Chicago, Delaware, Minnesota, Washington, and Oregon. Her artwork 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 artwork has been published in Symbiosis, New American Paintings, and FreshPaint Magazine. Murphy’s artwork can be found in various public and private collections including Colorado Springs Fine Arts Center Museum, Temple University, AlphaMed Press, and Gamblin Artists Colors. She earned her MFA from the University of Pennsylvania and her BFA from the Kansas City Art Institute. She is an adjunct professor at the University of Pennsylvania and been a visiting artist at the Philadelphia Museum of Art, Pennsylvania College of Design, University of Texas, Philadelphia University, Kent State University, and Dickenson College.