i. Murphy

A Statement

©1997-08 i.Murphy
A Beginning

I began painting as a child. If you have modeled clay or "painted-by-the-numbers" then you should know what this is about. In my early teens, I completed my first oil painting. Within weeks, I had received an unsolicited offer to purchase that first painting. Can you imagine? The would-be buyer was full of praise for this, my first work. So much so, I was compelled to confess that I had copied a painting that had graced the cover of Sports Illustrated Magazine. It was not my original. Immediately, the buyer reduced her offer by two-thirds. Well... the second offer I declined and the piece remained with me. Since then, it has vanished like so many other things and people. Nonetheless, some value was gained. I learned two things: that my paintings might sell and that originality is more valuable than imitation, by at least 200 per cent. Today, I use computer graphics programs to produce nearly all of my images.

And Now

Twenty years and lots of living had passed before it was time to leave a comfortable career path and launch a new profession. It has taken much help and encouragement from friends and relatives and more courage than one might expect. Some years have passed and the skeptics have grown fewer and the compliments more generous yet the critics remain abundant. One fellow said, "Friends come and go but enemies accumulate." I say to the friends, "Thank you." The artist must do what he/she needs to do. Sometimes this behavior conflicts with the socially acceptable. Robert Frost met the choice of two paths.


My initial intent was to challenge our notions of seeing, to demonstrate with a painting what is "in the mind's eye," if you will allow the cliche. More often I have fallen into the simpler ambition of creating something interesting to look at, remarkable would be better. Our ideas bear some relationship to form and color; by accepting the Unknown we may come closer to a personal reality and that may bring us even closer to describing the actuality. Imagery might appear as a combination of thoughts based on memory, shaped by experience and influenced by personality. Our environment has a strong influence. Someone once said, "we see through our own filters," a unique set of filters. Wm. Blake suggested that experience informs our views. If you know Songs of Innocence and Experience, you know this much. Today, I seek to "join the circle", seeking innocence "beyond experience." Often, I am distracted. Was I commanded to "be one of the little children?" Beyond remarkable, the artist might reach for completion... the last painting might be named "Innocence Regained".

What's Happening?

Our notions of seeing (vision) continually undergo major reconstruction. Discoveries in science, long-held theological beliefs and artistic understandings have begun to find some common ground. Separating Truth from the "bull" will take time. Vision is the result of many combinations of things not the least of which are our attitudes, emotions, and thoughts. Is light a wave or particle? What we have learned has enormous impact on what we see. What we have been taught about seeing is very little. The physical sensations elicited from our material world visited through our onboard filter group can produce ideas and consequences to satisfy our urges, undermine or support current beliefs and elicit emotions. Images have power and value. Urges may be quite primitive or sophisticated. Art is exploring alternatives.

For Those Who Need Labels

Let us call it "Post Picasso" and see where that leads. Contemporary is always a safe choice, that which encompasses the many views drawn from the wealth and diversity of expressions that burst forth before and throughout the 20th Century. Into the 21st Century, art will abound as science continues to seek the ultimate panacea... something science has failed to discover... nor might it ever. Is it not love we seek? Love is what is happening and if it is not happening with you, then you might want to do something about it. Yes, do you think so? "I am," says Thomas Merton. The enigma surpassed through faith.

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