No Agenda

American Art Collector - - Contents -

Work­ing on char­coal and sand­pa­per, Cal­i­for­ni­abased artist An­nie Mur­phy-Robin­son doesn’t draw with a so­ciopo­lit­i­cal agenda in mind. In­stead, she wants her work to say, “I’m here, too.” Her daugh­ters, aged 18 and 22, are her most fre­quent sub­jects, and she says, “The work doesn’t have to be a big state­ment,” she says. “I want to draw hon­estly, and the only hon­esty I can muster is that of my own ex­pe­ri­ence.”

Grow­ing up in Mon­tana, the artist has al­ways had a fond­ness for wild an­i­mals. Now, she in­cor­po­rates large, taxi­der­mied an­i­mals into her work. Con­jur­ing fea­tures her older daugh­ter in a 1920s, Gre­cian-in­spired gown, star­ing down a doll sheep.

“I called it Con­jur­ing be­cause the way she’s look­ing at it, it’s al­most like she’s go­ing to zap it back to life,” Mur­phy-Robin­son laughs. “I think it asks a lot of ques­tions. What is it to be fe­male? What is it like to be a young woman now? In a dif­fer­ent time, in a dif­fer­ent cul­ture?”

The Damned, while on the sur­face is of the artist’s younger daugh­ter, is some­what of a self-por­trait. Smok­ing a cig­a­rette and wear­ing a shirt from a tu­mul­tuous time in Mur­phy-Robin­son’s past, Casey stares down the viewer. It was orig­i­nally cre­ated in 2014, and then pur­chased by a prom­i­nent col­lec­tor.

“I sort of for­got about it and moved on. Then I got an email that the piece was go­ing to be auc­tioned off from the col­lec­tor’s es­tate,” Mur­phy-Robin­son says. “I bought it back and paid more than I orig­i­nally got paid for it. When the crate ar­rived, I opened it up and thought, ‘It’s aw­ful.’ I was mor­ti­fied.” Then, she hung the draw­ing back up in her stu­dio and spent 120 hours re­draw­ing it, im­bu­ing the progress she’s made as an artist in the past four years into the pa­per.

Mur­phy-Robin­son’s re­cent works will be on view at Ar­ca­dia Con­tem­po­rary in a solo ex­hi­bi­tion Oc­to­ber 13 through 28.

Ar­ca­dia Con­tem­po­rary 39 E. Colorado Boule­vard • Pasadena, CA 91105 • (626) 486-2018 •­ca­di­a­con­tem­po­

1The Damned, char­coal on sand­pa­per, 42 x 34"1

22Cross­road, char­coal on sand­pa­per, 42 x 34"3Con­jur­ing, char­coal on sand­pa­per, 66 x 42"

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