Pamela Murphy

Pamela Murphy collects and chooses figures from old photographs for her paintings. The people whose lives are recorded in those pictures are strangers, yet they are familiar in a nostalgic way 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. Murphy’s 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 her paintings exist in situations—or as objects—in which Murphy hopes the viewer will find a little of themselves.

“I select figures from my large collection of old photographs to use as subjects for my paintings and am interested in the fact that, although the people in the photographs may be strangers, they seem almost universally familiar.Living on a ten-acre farm, I am familiar with animals and the rural landscape, from which I also draw inspiration. All of my imagery has a strong sense of memory, history, and nostalgia, which the distressed surfaces of my canvases enhance.”

After graduating from the Rhode Island School of Design in 1991, Murphy went on to receive her Master of Fine Arts in India, from Visva-Bharati in Santiniketan. She currently is experimenting with strong visual contrasts in her work – placing sold, simple shapes on top of distressed and textured backgrounds.Incorporating bright color and gold leaf into her new works offers the viewer a visually rich and interesting surface with potential narrative content.


Solo Exhibitions:

2009 / 2013 Renee George Gallery;Charlotte, NC

2004 /2007 / 2009 / 2010 Fine Line Designs Gallery; Ephraim, WI

2008 Hawthorn Gallery; Birmingham, AL

2006 Chase Gallery;Boston, MA

2002 Melanee Cooper Gallery;Chicago, IL

Group Exhibitions:

2022Fine Line Designs Gallery;Ephraim, WI

2017 Gallery MAR;Park City, UT

2014/2018 Chase Young Gallery;Boston, MA

Grants: 1996-97 Fulbright Grant; Lecturing / Research;Lahore, Pakistan

Selected articles and reviews:

Peninsula Pulse “Luminous Layers”Tom Groenfeldt,October 15, 2020

DoorCountyToday.comPeggy Sue Dunnigan Wednesday, September 4, 2014 Peggy Sue Dunnigan Wednesday, September 4, 2013

Milwaukee Journal Sentinel Terri MilliganSeptember 24, 2013 TV Show videoFebruary 2012

Door County PulseMelissa RippDecember 22, 2009

Door County PulseSally SlatteryAugust 12, 2008

Atlanta Journal constitution Sunday November 26, 2006

Door County LivingJane HillstromJune/July 2003

Chicago TribuneAlan Artner March 15, 2002


Selected Artists of Door CountyVirginia Jones Maher and Paul Burton, 2016

Studio Life: Rituals, Collections, Tools, And Observations on The Artistic Process, 2013

Celebrating Door County's Wild Places, 2001