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InLiquid Artist Profile: Deirdre Murphy

Grand Passage by Deirdre Murphy

Deirdre Murphy

Editor's note: This interview is presented as part of a content partnership with InLiquid.

Deirdre Murphy
Painting and Printmaking

What are you currently working on?
I have been studying murmurations, the spectacle of flocking created by massive bird formations.

I work both from the Delaware Valley, Hawk Mountain (Kempton, PA) and the Strawbridge Observatory at Haverford College for land and skyscape imagery. I use graphs, convection current forms and bird flocking imagery to investigate movement. I look at Japanese woodcuts from the 16th century to contemporary artists such as Tom Nozkowski and Julie Muhretu. I also use formal color theory to select colors as well as being inspired by my four-year-old daughter's preschool art. I am a visual omnivore and use both high brow and low brow inspirations.
What have you been up to most recently?
'Sky Paintings' is up at the Philadelphia International Airport for a yearlong exhibition starting late January 2014. In March, my work will show at the Center for Emerging Visual Artists, and in June, I will exhibit at the Massachusetts General Hospital Cancer Center.

What's next up for you?
A residency this summer to produce a new body of work that will focus on aerial landscape views -- less about the birds and more about what and how the bird sees. Birds have amazing eyesight; they see 40 shades of red to a human's one shade of red. The saying "bird brain" is pretty far off base when it comes to color perception.

What inspires you? 
Nature, birds, movement, arresting moments in an ordinary day. I teach at Penn and the train that passes over the Walnut Street bridge, with graffiti all over, is one of my favorite sights in Philly. I love seeing the Philly skyline with a train suspended and cutting right through. 
Why do you make art?
I am too cranky if I don't' make art. I can go a week or two without it, but then like an addict I am drawn to it again and again. Art is a healthy compulsion for me.
What do you hope people will get out of your work?
I hope the viewer will pause and see beauty in the ordinary. Perhaps my paintings will evoke a memory or a moment in the viewers' life that will spark a feeling of awe or wonder. Children readily posses the response of awe and we adults tend to lose it. I want my paintings to evoke a feeling of wonder.

INLIQUID is a nonprofit membership organization dedicated to providing opportunities for visual artists and designers, serving as a free public hub for arts information and resources and making the visual arts more accessible to a broader audience through a continuing series of community-based art exhibitions and programs. 
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