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international painting annual 4 exhibition-in-print
online resource

Marilyn Murphy
Nashville, Tennessee

Vanderbilt University, Professor of Art

detail image


My paintings typically include one or two figures involved in an improbable action or working at some curious task. The narrative that seems to appear in my artwork isn't always clear allowing the viewer to develop his or her own story.

At first, the image, Looking and Seeing appears to be painted in grisaille (black, white and grays) but upon closer examination, subtle colors can be discerned. Many of my works from this series of paintings comment upon the difference between looking and seeing as well as the creative process.  While my passions are drawing and oil painting, I am also fascinated with the challenge of teaching a beginning drawing class.  Learning how to draw is a process of learning how to see, analyzing the subject or idea and the translation of the image to the page.  It is a wonderful opportunity to open a student's eyes to see his or her environment in a fresh light. Occasionally, teaching informs my work almost as much as how the time spent working in my studio informs my teaching.    

The writings of Gaston Bachelard (1884-1962), particularly the books Air and Dreams and The Poetics of Space, have long resonated with my interest in dreamlike imagery. Film Noir and the sense of optimism in magazines from the 1940's and early 1950's often inspire my art work.





born: 1950, Tulsa, Oklahoma



Oklahoma State University, BFA, 1972

University of Oklahoma, MFA, 1978


selected awards/honors

Research Grant, Vanderbilt University, 2012

Spring Prize, Tulane Review of Art and Literature, Tulane University, New Orleans, Louisiana, 2004

Distinguished Faculty Award, Vanderbilt University, 2003

Fellowship, Southern Arts Federation, 1990


selected publications

Who's Who in American Art:  34th Anniversary Edition, Marquis, 2014 (since 1989)

New American Painting, Open Studios Press, Boston, Massachusetts, 2013

Connections: Murphy/Trotman, Exhibition Catalog, Huntsville Museum of Art, 2012

Art Papers: Murphy/Trotman review, Dorothy Joiner, p. 45/46, May/June 2012


selected solo or two-person exhibits

Air and Dreams, Solo show, Cumberland Gallery, Nashville, Tennessee, 2013

Connections: Marilyn Murphy and Bob Trotman, Huntsville Museum of Art, Huntsville, Alabama, 2011-2012

Wind Mischief, Solo Exhibition, Carl Hammer Gallery, Chicago, Illinois, 2008

Suspended Animation, Mid-career Survey, Solo show, Frist Center for the Visual Arts, Nashville, Tennessee, 2004


selected group shows

Winter Show, Adler and Co, San Francisco, Califorina, 2013

The Secret Exchange, Museum of Contemporary Art, Sydney, Australia, 2011

Drawing Connections ,Siena Art Institute, Siena, Italy, 2011

National Contemporary Realism Invitational, M.A. Doran Gallery, Tulsa, Oklahoma, 2011




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