July 6th, 2015
Pamela Murphy is a recent addition to the gallery, and we have had the benefit of showing her work for almost a year now. In a short time, her paintings have proven to be favorites. One look at the adorable, nostalgic works and you will understand why.
The children and other figures in her work are all based on photographs that she collects in antique stores and the backgrounds of her works feel like bits of history in themselves.
I collect old photographs and choose figures from them for my paintings. The people whose lives are recorded in those pictures are strangers, yet they are familiar to all of us and remind us of ourselves and our families. Many layers of paint reveal the history of the canvas and create a space that serves to isolate the form of each figure. My subjects have been disconnected from their original context and are recreated as icons for the viewer’s personal connection. Each viewer brings with them their own specific history, so a single image can mean different things to different people. The figures in my paintings exist in situations—or as objects—in which I hope the viewer will find a little of themselves.
The most recent additions to the gallery are painted in wax encaustic, sourced from the very bees that she tends to on her property. What a wonderful example of “Farm to Wall!”
As a “homesteader,” Ms. Murphy grows everything that she and her husband eat and use, on their farm in Door County Wisconsin. She spends her days consumed with the work of the farm, and paints when she has precious time to spare. We are grateful to have her paintings a part of our gallery offerings, and love seeing the joy that they bring to our collectors.
Her oils on canvas are often painted and scraped down several times, to get a weathered sensibility about them; they feel like an unearthed attic gem, a piece lovingly passed down from generation to generation but with modern materials.
In some of my new work, I focus on animals and old barns and houses rather than people. In some of those paintings I use silhouette to explore another facet of form. The solid, simple, black shapes convey a surprising amount of information and can be read either as negative space or as positive and dimensional. They are a strong visual contrast to the distressed and textured background; the detailed linear elements of the botanical transfers; the areas of bright color and gold leaf; all of which combined offer the viewer a visually rich and interesting surface with potential narrative content.
Ms. Murphy begins all of her paintings with the canvases un-stretched, and composes the stretched works only after they are completed and dried. She then crates a custom frame for each painting and finishes it with a complimenting glaze.