Deirdre Murphy’s artwork is made with the attentiveness of a scientist. She observes 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. Imagery in her artwork ranges from data visualization of ornithology charts or phosphorescent images of viruses, to cellular structures in petri dishes that morph into star clusters or light pollution maps that finally rest upon a Luna moth. Murphy’s recent pivot to virology has led to foreshadowing paintings that reflect upon our global humanity and the ties that bind us.
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. 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.
Thresholds take you from one place to another. The thematic thread of the portal or circular vantage point can be imagined as a telescope, microscope, periscope, or binocular. These framing devices act as a threshold from one realm to another. This exhibition, which was partially made during the pandemic quarantine, is a departure from Murphy’s BioArt and a return to her seminal interest in plein air painting. This shift is in response to feeling isolated and the desire for fresh air and life affirming green during quarantine. The circle is symbolic of the cycle of life with no beginning and no end that reveals the resilience of life, of the light at the end of the tunnel.
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 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 Winterthur Museum (DE), 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 and New American Paintings. 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. Murphy earned her MFA degree from the University of Pennsylvania and her BFA degree from the Kansas City Art Institute. She is a Visiting Assistant Professor at Lehigh University and taught at the University of Pennsylvania, Drexel University and Pennsylvania Academy of Fine Art. Murphy has 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.