The deep parts of my life pour onward,
as if the river shores were opening out.
It seems that things are more like me now,
that I can see farther into paintings.
I feel closer to what language can’t reach.
With my sense, as with birds, I climb
into the windy heaven, out of the oak,
and in the ponds broken off from the sky
my feeling sinks, as if standing on fishes.
- Rainer Maria Rilke, “Moving Forward”
Eileen Murphy’s paintings on panels are a mirage of disparate memories. Lived experience, borrowed art historical footnotes, and imagery drawn from literary references swirl together and coalesce into shimmering sylvan scenes. Allusions to Patinir, Jacob von Ruisdael, Frederick Church, lines pulled from Rilke, and Murphy’s own personal history emerge deftly from the same brushstroke. The result is images that are simultaneously foreign and familiar, deeply intimate yet shared in a common vernacular. Murphy builds these compositions from layers of carefully applied oil paint, her brushstrokes growing increasingly specific and nuanced with each new stratum. Because she works on panel, the pigment is not absorbed into the material, but rather, sits atop the surface, the color remaining fully saturated. Without this anchoring effect, Murphy’s landscapes become lofty and voluminous, further intensifying their surrealist quality.
Eileen Murphy has spent her life along the Hudson River and has lived in Brooklyn, NY for the last seventeen years. Her current paintings are based on the landscape of Columbia County, NY, where she and her dog Frito spend part of their time. Eileen has shown widely and has attended residencies to the Vermont Studio Center, Yaddo, and the High Line 9. She received the Individual Artist Award from the Santo Foundation in 2017; in that same year, she was invited by the US Department of State to participate in the Art in the Embassies program, which brought her to Algeria. She is currently the Lead Faculty in Drawing, Painting, and Printmaking in the MFA program at the Institute of Art and Design at New England College. Her most recent solo show in New York City was at Sears Peyton Gallery in Chelsea in January 2022.
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