Ten Year Survey Exhibition

Ten year survey of my work curated by Midori Yoshimoto to be held at the NJCU Galleries in January 2012. Please click on PDF for complete prospectus. Contact Dr. Yoshimoto for additional information.

A prospectus for the exhibition tour

Margaret Murphy

A Ten-Year Survey, 2000-2010

Curated by Midori Yoshimoto, Ph.D.

Organized by the New Jersey City University Galleries, NJCU.

The Harold B. Lemmerman Gallery, January 30 – March 8, 2012.


NJCU Galleries are pleased to announce an upcoming ten-year survey exhibition of Margaret Murphy, an accomplished painter based in Jersey City, NJ to be held in late January 2012. Highlighting the last decade of the artist’s career through approximately forty select works the exhibition will include paintings from several important series: The Tarot Cards Series (1997-2000), the Henna Hands series (2001) the Decoy Series (2002 – 2005), The Sweet 16 series (2005 – 2007), The Parlor Paintings (2006-2007), Celebration (2008 – 2009), and The Fragments series (2010).  Seen together for the first time the paintings, mixed media works on paper and installations will become available as a traveling exhibition beginning in March 2012 through 2013-14.                                      

Born and raised in Baltimore, Maryland, Murphy graduated from Mason Gross School of the Arts, Rutgers, the State University of New Jersey with a Master of Fine Arts degree. Murphy has exhibited her works nationally and internationally since the early 1990s. Murphy’s vibrant paintings of mass produced objects represent her reflections on consumerism, religion, and gender roles. A deck of cards, a 99-cent store figurine, or a domestic print all find their way into her paintings in provocative and conceptually meaningful ways. Using a variety of materials such as watercolor, acrylic, digital print, silkscreen, and collage, Murphy’s works address public and private concerns, fake versus real, photographic and illusionistic space. Her color schemes are playful and as varied as her statuettes; ranging from a single color field to a Victorian wallpaper pattern. These colors and patterns bring emotional resonance to the figurines and the stories they represent.

The series The Parlor Paintings and Sweet 16 Paintings reveal Murphy’s feminist concerns as the protagonists embody images of “female identification,” ranging from a caring mother to a seductive dancer. These figures often cast evocative shadows animating the static object of the figurine. The oval format of the Parlor Paintings further reference Victorian modes of representation and conceptually reinforce the gender critique.

“Margaret Murphy’s post-feminist portraits of mass-produced objects address the artificially created dichotomy of women into “good” and “bad” categories. As objects of mass consumption, the figurines serve to underscore this system of (mis)identification. By adapting them for her work, the artist critiques the role of the object, and, by extension, the complicity of the consumer and the spectator.”

RocioAranda-Alvarado, Ph.D., Curator, El Museo Del Barrio, New York

“These are intriguing and seductive images. Spend a few minutes in their company and you start to think of these figurines as real women, forgetting their origins as decorative sculptures. Murphy subverts the idea of women as objects by showing us objects as women.”

Mary Birmingham, Curator, The Visual Arts Center of New Jersey, Summit, New Jersey.


“Margaret Murphy's ''Sweet 16'' paintings depict kitschy china statuettes, enlarged to nearly life size, of young women decked out like prom queens in elaborate dresses. Their faces are hidden, further distancing them from the reality of adolescence. The figurines are literally objects, and the teenagers they represent are objectified by the stereotyped roles they adopt.”                                                     

Helen A. Harrison, art critic, The New York Times

Murphy’s earlier works; represented by Henna Hands and Tarot Card series, humorously critique our attachment to the material world by focusing on cultural stereotypes and “quick fixes” reflected in consumer products and designs. As a whole, the exhibition provides an excellent opportunity for university students to learn about the ways in which a contemporary painter finds artistic inspirations in everyday life and turns it into a critical dialogue about contemporary culture. Murphy’s works have a universal appeal based on the artist use of art historical references, popular culture and documentary images.

Enclosed is a tentative selection of works. The selection is flexible depending on the needs of the hosting institutions. If you are interested in hosting this traveling exhibition and would like more information, please contact Midori Yoshimoto, Gallery Director by email (myoshimoto@njcu.edu).