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Margaret Murphy

Studio X
September 14 - December 2, 2012

Opening Reception: September 14, 6 pm - 8 pm

Margaret Murphy, known for her paintings of inexpensive mass-produced figurines, created Memory Theater with the intention of stirring memories in the mind of the viewer. This site-specific, multi-media installation expands on her previous work, and for the first time integrates the actual figurines that provided the inspiration and subject matter for her paintings.

Murphy invites the viewer to enter the gallery space as a spectator in a theater. She has “staged” four intimate installations that combine video, photography, painting, wall drawing and found objects arranged on small decorative shelves. Automotive paint gives a slick, mass-produced aura to these shelves, which function like stages or miniature theaters. Murphy explains that in this work, “sounds, moving images, and illusionistic space co-exist with banal consumer objects, sentimental trinkets, and domestic decor to trigger a shared history or memory – some are fraught with emotion, others with chaos and maybe even a little humor.”

When we enter a theater we implicitly agree to suspend reality and allow the performance to transport us to another time and place. Recalling memories can be an equally theatrical experience as they “take us back” to the near or distant past. When we draw back the curtain on our memories, we may watch them play out over and over, like a long-running production. Murphy delights in this connection between memory and theater and sees her installations as “a series of performances rendered in mixed media that address personal and public coincidences.” In Murphy’s Memory Theater we can choose to be mere spectators or performers in our own theaters of memory.

Click the Play button to view the Flickr slideshow.

Artwork detail: Margaret Murphy, Coincidences (for Liliana), 2012