Agnes Murray

In much of my work images derive from my longstanding interest in architectural form, such as those in the “Approaching Slains Castle” and “Roanheads/Peterhead” series of work. These two places are depicted in parallel series, exploring vernacular structures, the interconnectedness of public spaces, and the sometimes obscure borderline between public and private. Old forms of social structure, expressed through the architecture of the old manor house, contrast with more contemporary society, provoking questions about how we live and work in community, and the scale of sustainable human habitation.

Parallel to the artwork of buildings and structure, much of which, though hand-drawn, is photo-derived, is a long-term series of work done by direct observation. One ongoing subject has been “geraniums,” which I have come to understand is something of a misnomer, as these plants are cultivars of the genus pelargonium, both geranium and pelargonium genera classified in the Geraniaceae family. Through the Plant Cure artist’s residency at Brooklyn Botanic Garden I read much more about this family of plants, including the introduction of pelargonium plants from South Africa to Europe and beyond, the traditional medicinal uses of the originating plants, and their use in modern allopathic medicine.

All of the “scented geraniums” (in the genus pelargonium) are compelling with their fragrant leaves, and I worked with a wider group of these plants for the first set of watercolors and ceramic sculptures developed for Plant Cure. The plant that stood out for its continued use is Pelargonium sidoides, whose roots are commercially grown today for respiratory medicines. The second group of Plant Cure artwork focuses solely on this species.

Agnes Murray is an artist whose work includes original lithographs and intaglio prints, monotypes, artist’s books, drawings, photographs, watercolors and oil paintings, which have been exhibited nationally and internationally in curated and juried exhibitions. In recent years she has returned to working in clay, exploring both functional and sculptural forms. Her first solo exhibit in New York City was presented by Tabla Rasa Gallery in Sunset Park, Brooklyn in the spring of 2015. She has had prior solo exhibits at the Southampton Civic Centre Art Gallery, Southampton, England, the Frederic Remington Art Museum, Ogdensburg, NY, and the Roland Gibson Gallery, Potsdam State College (SUNY). She is a recipient of the Bronx Recognizes Its Own (BRIO) artist fellowship, awarded by Bronx Council on the Arts in 2019 (painting), 2014 (printmaking), and 2005 (printmaking).

Her work is included in the collections of Bibliothèque Nationale, Paris; Brooklyn Museum; Pinacoteca do Estado de São Paulo; San Francisco Museum of Modern Art; Southampton Art Gallery, Southampton, England; Toledo Museum of Art, Ohio; Munson Williams Proctor Art Institute, Utica, NY; Columbia University; Harvard University; Rochester Institute of Technology; The University, Southampton, England; Trenton State College; University of Iowa; the Library of Congress; the New York City Public Library; and other public and private collections.

She graduated from the University of Maryland, College Park, earning a B.A. in Studio Art (High Honors), with a minor in Art History, and received her M.F.A. in printmaking from the California College of the Arts, Oakland (formerly California College of Arts and Crafts).

Agnes Murray’s Website

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