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 Patricia Murphy-Macdonald  

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Lived/Active: Canada      Known for: still life

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Biography from Odon Wagner Gallery:
Patricia Murphy-Macdonald has been working as an artist since graduating with honors from Emily Carr College of Art and Design in 1988.  She trained formally in painting and works in oil, as well as water media - watercolor, egg tempera and mixed media.

Murphy-Macdonald has shown in both solo and group shows throughout the Vancouver lower mainland and in Toronto.  In 2000, she was selected as one of five Artists to participate in “The House of Mirrors Project”, a community based project funded by the Canada Council.

For a number of years, she developed and ran a decorative and fine art business “Murphy Macdonald & Co.” with her husband, artist John Macdonald.  More recently, she has moved from Vancouver to Salt Spring Island with her daughter, and husband, where she continues to paint.

Ongoing Work 2001 - 2004

Inspired by everyday life and the everyday object, Patricia Murphy-Macdonald invokes her own individual vision.  With the use of irony, humor and a sense of humility, these objects begin to take on a larger than life appeal.  They elevate the ordinary aspects of life.

She takes the small, simple, incidental, and mundane, and by embodying them in paint, transcends the physical leaving one lingering on the emotion or sense aroused by the object.  She plays with the patterns of nature or creates synthetic ones that stimulate and reinforce those feelings.

Influenced by Pop Art, though rather than a cynical or critical vision, she maintains the whimsical, not unlike Wayne Thiebaud’s cakes and children’s toys of the 1960’s. Her work recalls as well artists such as Gathie Falk and Mary Pratt, also inspired by the everyday object.

In her work there is repetition, reduction, and a modest comic mode.  But there is also a love of the paint and that in every brush stroke refers to the world of painting.

Starting with the intention to document aspects of domestic life, Murphy-Macdonald purposefully painted her daughters shoes looking straight down to reinforce the concept of documentation.  She intentionally chose a subject touched on the sentimental, and then did multiples to strengthen that emotional association.  The plate paintings such as Trout and Flowers or Nature on a plate juxtapose objects opposed to our senses. So at once they move from being an attractive image to one unsettling.

With the painting Birthday, she considers how most celebratory occasions can be emotionally loaded, and will continue to explore or document other objects that are associated with these festivities. These paintings fall into her Picnic series, a group of paintings she is now working on. They include a number of florals, and panels, which confer as fragments of a whole. These paintings have much to do with living in an idyllic setting in the country, surrounded by gardens and nature.

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