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Margaret Murphy
Jersey City, NJ

Artwork Details
Acrylic & Watercolor on Paper
15" x 22"

Margaret Murphy was born in Baltimore, Maryland in the working-class neighborhood of Hampden. She explains that this type of upbringing lead to a predisposition to liking knick-knacks and kitsch and much of her work over the years has been influenced by working-class beliefs and values, feminism, brashness, religion, and politics.  She spent four years at The Schuler School of Fine Arts in Baltimore and three years at Towson State University where she earned her BS, before receiving her MFA in Painting from Mason Gross School of the Arts at Rutgers University in 1992. During this time she also studied Aikido for ten years, receiving her Black Belt in 1989 in Washington, D.C.

Of her work she explains, “I am concerned with the schism in contemporary life brought about by consumerism. Through what I refer to as creative documentary, my paintings look at material culture and authenticity by way of dollar store figurines, souvenirs, and found patterns. I also look for the gesture or pose in the statue that will evoke the strongest emotional response when isolated and bring the viewer into the presence of the figure. Because you can not see the face of the figures you are not quite sure what they are expressing emotionally. In this way, the viewer can bring their own memory, anxiety, and questions to the experience of looking at the painting. The patterned backgrounds I am recently incorporating into the paintings are part of the examination of authenticity. Inauthentic nature with the inauthentic person or animal in an inauthentic setting, decoys for reality in an age of ‘reality’ entertainment and documentary.”

In addition to making and exhibiting work, Margaret Murphy is the curator of a new exhibition space called The Garage. Located in Jersey City, this space offers exhibition opportunities for emerging artists.  Murphy is also a Professor of Art at William Paterson University. She has been teaching at the college level for twelve years in New Jersey and Chicago. Reviews of her work have appeared in the New York Times, The Star Ledger, and numerous New Jersey and Long Island newspapers. In March 2001 she was featured on a segment of WNJN's half hour art program “State of the Arts”. Professional awards and recognition include a Change Inc. grant, MacDowell Colony Residency and Travel Award, Virginia Center and Vermont Studio Center residencies, two project-based grants from the city of Chicago, and an Artist-in-Residence at the Newark Museum. She also participated in the Aljira EMERGE 2000 program.

Murphy has exhibited widely in galleries and museums nationally. Some exhibitions include a solo show of paintings titled Decoys at the Jersey City Museum and a group exhibition titled Day Dreaming at HPGRP Gallery in Chelsea. Her work has been shown at the $99 Bargain Store Show at Cynthia Broan Gallery, Cultural Exploration: New Jersey Arts Annual at the Morris Museum, the Montclair Museum of Art, The Newark Museum, as well as numerous group shows in University and commercial galleries. In 2002, she was featured in SKIN DEEP at The Islip Museum in NY.