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Absurdities, Contrasts, Conflicts, and Contradictions

October 2, 2021 until January 23, 2022

New Jersey artist, Michael Murphy uses imagery of contrasts, contradictions, paradoxes, and ambiguities to create his pieces.

Semi Idental Twin - Left. 2021 Oil, acrylic & collage on wood 76 x 31
1. Recent Future.2017 Oil, acrylic and collage on wood. 58_x34_ M. Murphy#232B
3. Generally Specific. 2017 Oil, acrylic & collage on wood 58_x28_ M. Murphy#ED46
6.Puritanical Debauchery. 2019 Oil, acrylic & collage on wood 49_x28_ M. Murphy#5D40
Semi Idential Twins - Right. 2021 Oil, acrylic & collage on wood 80 x 35
Willing Reluctance. 2019 Oil, acrylic & collage on wood 23 x 20



6.Puritanical Debauchery. 2019 Oil, acrylic & collage on wood 49_x28_ M. Murphy#5D40.jpg

Michael Murphy

Murphy is a current resident of Paterson, NJ. He earned both a Bachelor of Fine Art degree (1978) and a Master of Fine Art degree (1980) from William Paterson University located in Wayne, New Jersey. 

His artwork has been featured in both solo and group shows in galleries and museums throughout the New Jersey/New York area since the early 1980s.

Murphy is the recipient of numerous awards including an Individual Artist Fellowship from the NJSCA, the NJ Art in Architecture Purchase from NJSCA, an Arts in Education Residency from Rutherford High School, and an Arts in Education Residency from Barringer High School. 


My Master’s degree is in sculpture, but I have been working as a painter since the early eighties. This apparent contradiction forms the underlying basis of my art making. I don’t paint on a symmetrical, rectilinear surface. I utilize slabs of wood and sometimes dimensional lumber to construct my painting surfaces, which makes them sculptural and asymmetrical. They are connected by pieces of wood that are all attached in order for the separate elements to hang on the wall as a painting. The wood is oiled and varnished before any paint is applied to the surface.


Ideas of contrasts, contradictions, paradoxes and ambiguities are all part of the imagery I use in my work. I use both gestural, heavily applied paint as well as that which is hard edged and precisely executed. The areas of paint and collage on each piece are separate from each other. They may relate to each other or may be independent and work alone. The areas that do relate to each other may relate in different ways, such as color or general shape or in some other formal manner. Occasionally, social or political ideas come into the forefront of the paintings.


The combination of all of these disparate elements culminates with the titles of these paintings, which are all oxymorons. The absurdity of some aspects of the world and society requires titles which are non-sensical and bizarre.






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