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Oklahoma Arts CouncilOklahoma Arts Council

Regina Murphy
A Retrospective

East Gallery - February 18 - April 14, 2013

Regina Murphy
Regina Murphy

Oklahoma artist Regina Murphy has led a prolific art career over more than 40 years. This exhibit, A Retrospective, features a sampling of her vast portfolio of works from different periods of her career. Murphy's passion for art is illustrated by the evolution of her style and experimentation with subject matter and various media including pastel, oil, watercolor, and acrylic painting. "I experiment often with different techniques and subject matter," says Murphy. "This variety holds my interest and keeps me always looking forward to the next project."

At 91 years of age, Murphy has maintained diligence in her artwork and spends most weekdays working in her studio. After many years of plein air painting (painting on site in the open air), she now only paints in the studio - usually from photographs or recollection. The reality of her subject matter acts as the foundation and her creativity is expressed through abstraction of color, shape, and composition. Murphy explains, "I blend greatly abstracted shapes with realism, sometimes flatten space, use exaggerated or arbitrary color, and often delineate objects. My goal is to produce a painting that is not a 'postcard' view but will intrigue the viewer and prolong interest."

Untitleds by Regina Murphy
Untitleds by Regina Murphy

Beyond the works featured here, Murphy has worked in numerous media, both two- and three-dimensional. "After all the experimenting, it seems the most comfortable endeavor for me is painting in either oil or acrylic, and my favorite subject matter is some form of landscape," says Murphy. In her more recent works, she accentuates her landscapes with slightly abstracted, lyrical shapes in exaggerated colors and bold lines.

Murphy's process for painting other subjects has evolved over the years as well. "In the past, for still life paintings, I would set up actual compositions with fresh flowers," she explains. "But in recent years, I paint from imagination, abstracting shapes, and again, exaggerating colors and outlining objects in bright colors."

Untitleds by Regina Murphy
Untitleds by Regina Murphy

Of Murphy's "Rocks & Boulders" series, she says, "Nature has always been a source of inspiration to me. A walk in the woods or near the water's edge can start me planning paintings in which I might convey the feelings that come over me as I experience our awesome environment at close range. In this series my concept was to convey the stability, splendor, silence, and richness of color in nature's boulders and rocks. Life is so transient; we are so vulnerable; but the earth endures, although gouged and scarred by time and the elements. Perhaps that is why I am awed by its grandeur and inspired by its beauty."

Of another popular subject matter for Murphy, she explains, "Puppets and dolls have been a recurring subject in my paintings through the years. When I found a wooden monkey puppet in an import shop I thought he would be a great subject for paintings, so I bought him and have created a number of paintings with this single puppet posing in any number of ways."

Untitleds by Regina Murphy
Untitleds by Regina Murphy

Murphy, a longtime resident of Oklahoma, has studied at Oklahoma City University, Louisiana Tech University and at Louisiana Tech's sister school in Rome, Italy, as well as with numerous nationally known instructors. She has traveled the world for study and pleasure to places such as Holland, France, Morocco, Bali, China, Hawaii, Mexico, and Guatemala. Murphy's artwork is a staple in solo and juried exhibitions and competitions in the region. In addition, her artwork is included in numerous permanent collections including the Oklahoma State Art Collection, and the collections at the University of Science and Art of Oklahoma in Chickasha and the Mabee-Gerrer Museum of Art in Shawnee.

Murphy maintains a studio at Studio Six in Oklahoma City's historic Paseo Arts District. She is represented by JRB Art at the Elms, also located in the Paseo.