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 • www.arcadiacontemporary.com
1The Damned, charcoal on sandpaper, 42 x 34"1
22Crossroad, charcoal on sandpaper, 42 x 34"3Conjuring, charcoal on sandpaper, 66 x 42"