You may recall that Paul Gauguin believed that color had a vocabulary all its own and could skillfully be used to elicit emotional responses. The Post-Impressionist would clearly be a collector of Courtney Murphy’s work. There are layers of thematic depth on every canvass--but it is the vibrant use of color to communicate those social and philosophical arguments that makes her an important contemporary artist.
The artist and viewer never see the faces of the women she paints, and some cases their heads are entirely cropped. Why? Is there an intimate privacy in which a woman is connected to her beauty or is there something more profound? Is the universal ego subsumed under the labyrinth of cultural draping in an all too complex modern world?
"I have always been drawn to paintings of the Neo-classical genre, because of the use of striking color, dramatic light and elegant clothing. However, the expressionless women swallowed up by silk and satin and posed in static posture created an emotional void, which I move to fill. In my work, these women embrace the elegant and formal nature of fashion and painting, yet are seen not as the passive wearer of garments but as the focus of a dramatic interlude that embraces elegance and feminine sensuality. I create a push and pull between traditional realism and contemporary compositions by leading the viewer with body language and hints at a possible narrative, through the brief moment in time, yet allowing the viewer to complete each story."
Courtney is an award winning painter who has shown extensively in the United States. Currently she is a full time Foundations Faculty member at the Art Institute of Washington Dulles. Courtney holds a BS in studio art from the University of California at Davis and an MFA in painting from the New York Academy of Art, and also studied at the California Art Institute, the Art Center in Pasadena and the Pont Aven School of Contemporary Art in Brittany, France.