2016 Best in Painting – Katherine Murphy


My abstract painting Connectivity is an investigation of the human body through an exploration of mark, line, and color. Using forms reminiscent of internal human structures on a “human sized” canvas, I hope my composition brings to mind a sense of movement and energy. I am interested in the effect of taking something small and internal and reimagining it large and externally. As references I looked at micrographs of blood clots and was inspired by the strange beauty and complexity of these images. The red forms in my painting could be blood cells, but are not necessarily a depiction of them. The squiggling lines suggest capillaries or fibers and visually connect elements in the piece. The scale of this piece was very important to me as a part of its creation and how it is perceived. The size of the canvas is 52” x 48”, making it roughly “human sized” when mounted on a wall. This specific size caused me to relate to the canvas on a much more physical level while I applied the paint. Selective areas of the painting have paint that is applied very thickly, slathered on and built up to become of kind of flesh. The size also provides a different experience for the viewer than it would as a smaller work. The scale allows the viewer to stand at a slight distance to clearly take in the entire composition, and when they do step closer it takes up the entire field of vision. This emphasizes the enveloping, overwhelming feeling of the piece, while the element of repetition gives some order to an otherwise chaotic composition. In this piece I aim to create a complex space for the viewer’s eyes to travel through and explore, and evoke a sense of the complex worlds within our own bodies.