Todd Murphy

23 Oct 2016 – 11 Dec 2016

Marc Straus

New York
New York, United States


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Marc Straus is proud to present the inaugural solo exhibition of mixed-media artist Todd Murphy.


For over two decades, Todd Murphy has been exploring a practice that combines sculpture, painting and photography. With the wide-eyed inquisitiveness of a 19th century Naturalist, Murphy has travelled extensively to the far reaches of the world, collecting, photographing and fastidiously cataloging melting glaciers, aviary species, exotic fruits and more. These photographic studies of curiosities are sources for his complex narratives that frequently feature archetypal themes from philosophy and mythology. Murphy’s interests however go beyond these classical prototypes and include subtle subtexts of bigotry, Southern history and fantastic literary stories as Ulysses. In the end his recurring protagonists of horses, birds, dresses, boats, are poetic vehicles for a humanistic discourse – the contradictory nature of Man is as a privileged species as well as just another creature in a web of life. Furthermore, hierarchies of privilege and status within the human species are merely

Murphy is committed to the rigors of each discipline – in painting he prefers traditional, even anachronistic methods of oil painting. Some paintings are accentuated with an additional layer of painted Plexiglas, producing a perspectival illusion of depth. Such is the phenomenological aspect of Murphy’s work. In one monumental fifteen-foot work, a tiger in the foreground, ready to pounce, is both menacing and majestic.

In assemblage, Murphy alchemizes ramshackle castaway objects from junkyards and thrift shops to unlock their buried language. His latest Murmurations series is the culmination of this practice: reflecting the moving phenomena of Starlings, five distinct sculptures each 86-inches tall contribute to the aggregate effect. Here Murphy explores grand themes of Nature, Technology and Humanity. Not one to shy away from beauty, the Dress becomes the central motif, a form for discourse on a modern society where we take divine ratios and symmetries for granted. Levitating within some freestanding sculptures, Murphy adds another dimension of time and space through a sly play of artificial lights and video projections.

Ultimately, Murphy’s indelible belief is in the interconnectedness of all things – that the Spiritual and Natural World can intertwine in beautiful, unforeseen ways.

Exhibiting artists

Todd Murphy


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