Oculus: Deirdre Murphy and Scott White
January 10 – May 2, 2020
Oculus showcases a series of paintings by Deirdre Murphy along with wall-based sculptures made in collaboration with her husband, artist Scott White. Murphy approaches her work with an awareness of her existence as both a minuscule and integral part of a larger whole. The artist examines relationships between art and scientific discovery, particularly illustrating interconnected patterns on both a micro and macro level. Murphy’s first-hand interactions and collaborations with scientists continue to inform her studio practice. In the triptych Phosphorescence, her circular compositions draw a parallel to the petri dishes used by scientists to examine the cellular structures of specimens under the microscope. Oculus Minor, a six panel composition, contrasts with the artist’s painting from lab observations as the work addresses light on a macroscopic level. This painting poses a mirrored likeness between illuminated, aerial images of light pollution, and a fading blanket of constellations in the celestial sphere. Murphy expresses how her use of molecular structures and flight patterns become “a language to describe my relationship to nature and… the interconnected quality in our lives, thus illuminating a path to seeing the world anew.”
In a collaborative series of sculptures with Scott White, the artists inspire a dialogue relating to how light pollution and climate change impact the migratory patterns of songbirds that rely on stars for navigation. White explains, “these works are meant to re-contextualize the phenomenological events we see in the night sky.” Hand-formed out of steel and aluminum, Ursa Major is a smooth, convex dome intensely lit from behind by colored LEDs. The work reveals a captivating collection of star systems painstakingly created by piercing through the metal surface. In contrast, the facade of Star Clusters is broken into carefully welded facets, allowing light to pass through a deliberate array of junctions.
Left: SCOTT WHITE (American, born 1972), Star Clusters, 2018, Welded stainless steel with LED light
Right: DEIRDRE MURPHY (American, born 1967), Moss Colony I, part of Visual Structures: Seen and Unseen, 2018, Acrylic on panel