Nashville, Tennessee
Contemporary Art Gallery

237 Rep. John Lewis Way N. 37219
Tuesday–Saturday 10:00 a.m. — 5:00 p.m.







Marilyn Murphy

“ The scent of the earth here exudes a mystery to me that I am trying to solve with my own visual language. Not by copying elements of the landscape onto canvas or paper but by delving into time. ”

Marilyn Murphy’s surreal drawings and oil paintings create odd and curious situations that imply a larger, dream-like story. Siting magazines from the 1940s and 50s as inspiration for her imagery, the objects appearing in her work are often beyond reach, or out of human scale. Thus, there remains ambiguity as to whether they ought to be read as symbolically or literally present. Murphy’s soft pastel palate falls into harmony with idyllic beaches and larger-than-life cookies—or into a ringing dissonance with gas masks and fire. Murphy plumbs the depths of this distinctly American collective unconscious, an ambivalent space shaped by commodity and mass-marketing, vacillating between desire and violence, comfort and terror.

Originally from Tulsa, Oklahoma, Marily Murphy currently lives in Nashville, Tennessee where she taught as a professor of art at Vanderbilt University for 37 years.  She received her MFA from the University of Oklahoma and her BFA from Oklahoma State University.   She has been awarded multiple research grants and residencies and has curated upwards of 30 exhibitions. She has shown in hundreds of exhibitions nationally and abroad, with her in multiple museums including the Frist Art Museum.  Her work is in many public and private collections including the Kemper Collection, Huntsville Museum of Art, the Boston Museum School, and the Prudential and Bridgestone Collections.


Solo exhibitions, Clouds, Dreams, 2022

Group exhibition, Things to Come, 2019

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