Transcendent – Sara Murphy

Sara Murphyshe/her

In ‘Performance Theory,” ink drawing, acrylic and watercolor painting, monoprints, and resin on panel combine to create a multilayered image that attempts to express some of the vibrant, pulsing frustration that seems to come hand in hand with attempting to embody (or at least not insult) a societally acceptable framework of given gender expectations. The stenciled background, inspired by antique wallpapers, is a symbol of societal homemaking expectations, “pretty” faces trapped within the patriarchal and puritanical constraints of society’s subconscious. The birdcage, calling out a loss of freedom, is paired with lilies and lavender, two flowers representing purity, innocence, femininity, and –particularly relevant of late — fertility. The figure, with short (read: masculine?) hair and fabric-filled couture (read: feminine?) attire, meets your gaze. But she is tired. It’s all a performance, really, after all. We’re all just playing a part. And what part we’re playing can change at any given time, if you let it.

Sara Murphy is an Emmy Award-winning producer and lifestyle writer turned mixed media artist who combines ink drawing, painting, printmaking, and collage to create dramatically layered pieces in minimalistic color palettes. Mixing detailed line work with commercial imagery and text, her work focuses on themes of nostalgia and mortality, and often depicts the juxtaposition of urban landscapes with natural elements; manmade objects with living things. Her mixed-size, resin-on-wood panel pieces use fine floral imagery, archival portraiture, and monochromatic color combinations to highlight the inherent cognitive dissonance of contemporary culture.

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