by Molly Walsh
Artist Maureen Bridget Murphy showcases her journey of painting and printmaking through the exhibition, Movements in Time: Art by Maureen Bridget Murphy at Schwartz’s Bakery in Olympia. On display is a selection of pieces curated by Murphy, including acrylic abstract paintings, collage and monoprints.
Murphy said she has been creating for as long as she can remember, experimenting with almost every medium along the way. Since moving to Olympia sixteen years ago, Murphy has been able to completely embrace art, enjoying the sense of tranquility and positive energy that a creative spirit provides.
“My work is everything to me as a person, because it gives me so much joy and it centers me and keeps me really calm and open,” said Murphy. “I think it gives me a lot of energy, good energy. I don’t get frustrated. I mean, I’m too old to worry about that. I just love getting up in the morning with a new thing to try. Learning is always fun, and I’m always learning. I’m especially happy at this point in my older life that I finally have almost all the time I want to do the art making.”
Maureen began her artistic journey with watercolor. Living in Montana at the time, Murphy said her semi-abstract paintings were primarily inspired by flora, fauna and mountains. At times, creating art became more sporadic for Murphy as her family life and career required more of her attention. After Murphy moved to Olympia, she soon had more time to devote to art, including digital photography and creating digital art with the use of photography.
Murphy’s digital photography then inspired her to pursue abstract acrylic painting. Most recently, Murphy has become more immersed in printmaking, usually applying acrylic paint to surfaces like glass, wood and Gelli plates to create monoprints.
“Making things that different on the computer kind of woke me up to abstract painting,” said Murphy. “And that’s why I went to acrylic abstract painting. Acrylics, you can do in a small space and you can print with acrylics. So, it suits me right now, real good for both painting acrylics and printmaking.”
While living in Olympia, Murphy has forged connections with different facets of the local artist community, making friends along the way who have served as inspiration for the craft of printmaking, including fellow local artist, Lois Beck. In the near future, Murphy hopes to further connect with other artists in town by joining additional artist groups.
Murphy’s work is diverse and many times layered, spanning the spectrum of color and form. This includes works with splashes of vibrant color or shades of black and white, abstract shapes, texture or collage that melds the abstract with more recognizable figures.
Movements in Time, at Schwartz’s Bakery features a medley of styles that span Murphy’s artistic career. This includes colorful “movement” style acrylic abstract paintings as well as newer print work. Murphy said curating pieces for this exhibition has mostly come down to personal preference, choosing what feels right and what would look best on display.
Murphy also paid attention to the collection as a whole, selecting pieces that mesh well together on the bakery walls, while not overcrowding the exhibition. With that in mind.
Murphy’s internal process of her work makes for a wide array of completed art pieces. Murphy describes approaching new work with a science-like enthusiasm, wanting to create different types of art without necessarily adhering to a particular creative style.
“I want to do something different every time,” said Murphy. “And sometimes a couple of people, not too many, but a couple of people have said well, what about style? And I said well, you know, it’s just me. I can’t plan on any certain style…I want to try this or try that and then I see what happens. You know, and that’s the way I work…It’s fun for me. I hope that it’s interesting for other people to see.”
Ahead of the exhibition, Murphy said she is thankful for the support of Olympia’s art community, including the support that Schwartz’s Bakery demonstrates by displaying the work of local artists.
In addition to the exhibition on display through the month of November, Murphy will also be attending two “meet the artist” events at Schwartz’s Bakery, where she will answer questions about her work and creative process. Interested community members can meet and chat with Murphy from noon to 2art p.m. on Saturday, November 18 and Saturday, November 25.
Through pursuing art in her senior years, Murphy hopes she can encourage people, especially older generations. To serve as a reminder that it is never too late to explore creative interests, no matter the life stage. Murphy said once life responsibilities often required in younger years are complete, it can be a great time for a person to discover or revisit what they truly love to do. And the adventures go on for Murphy as she continues to create art and engage in other activities that she enjoys, including spending time outdoors and traveling to her favorite places around the state.
“It’s very fulfilling and inspiring and joyous and opening,” said Murphy. “It makes me calm. Because of the way I approach art, I don’t approach it with, what’s the word, competitive way at all. And I don’t try to paint like anyone else. It’s all an internal thing for me. And I think that that process is very healing and freeing for just about anybody. And I’m just lucky that I have the opportunity in my life, and a place to do it.”
Movements in Time: Art by Maureen Bridget Murphy
Through November 30
Meet the artist events: Noon to 2 p.m. on Saturday, Nov.18 and Nov. 25
Schwartz’s Bakery, 124 Fourth Avenue East, Olympia