Studio Visit w/ Collage Artist Jenn Murphy

Posted by Madeleine Till, October 23, 2017
Jenn Murphy window

Jennifer Murphy is a Toronto based visual artist. Her characteristic collaged pieces explore the natural cycles of life, death, and rebirth. In Jenn’s work, photographs are dutifully collected from vintage catalogues and transformed into installations and framed collages that take on a life of their own.

This fall, we asked Jenn to participate in an artist activation of our catered bistro onsite at Art Toronto (October 27th-30th). Jenn is also contributing a limited artist multiple that will be handed out to the lucky guests of our Judy Chicago inspired Dinner Party at Drake Commissary on October 29th. We got a very special sneak peek at some works in progress at Jenn’s home studio in Toronto’s west end.

Jenn Murphy mantis

Can you describe the work you'll be installing at the Drake Art Bistro at Art Toronto?
I'm planning on installing some framed works of new and older collages and I will also present an installation of new collage works. The framed works will include two pieces from an early solo show from 2003 of a Sun made from metallic foil and an Iris made from small pieces of lace. These works I consider collage made with unexpected materials. I have made works like these over the years turning silk into a green fly, velvet into a hawk, dried pansies into a skull, butterfly wings into a bat and eel skin into a spider as some examples.

Jenn murphy studio floor

I will also hang a suite of framed collages made from photographic images found in used books from a series I started in 2014. This series was inspired by the the Japanese folklore of Yokai which are transformational, shapeshifting, supernatural spirits. They are often seen as beautiful and bewitching apparitions that can be mischievous as well as auspicious. Yokai often take animal and plant form including cats, snakes, foxes, deers and frogs.
The installation consists of new collages continuing this series with a focus on spiders, chameleons, mantises and snakes transformed with flowers, mushrooms and shells.

Jenn Murphy iris moon

What can you tell us about the printed multiple you’re working on for our Dinner Party at Drake Commissary?

I created a collage that will be printed on white silk to create an artist multiple that will be given to all of the guests as a gift. The collage is inspired by Judy Chicago's monumental, feminist, work The Dinner Party. Chicago represented 39 women of great significance throughout Western history each with a place setting on a triangular table. My collage references the triangular shape and the butterfly motif Chicago used as basis for each plate dedicated to each women, from the Primordial Goddess to Georgia O'Keeffe.

Jenn Murphy table

For O'Keeffe's plate the butterfly motif is transformed into an iris and I have included an iris blooming out of the wings of a butterfly and full moon which is also a symbol associated with the female and cycles of life. Printing the collage on white silk is another reference to Chicago's table where embroidered white silk was used as table coverings in the three corners of the triangular shaped table.

jenn murphy wall

You can check out Jenn’s work in person at Art Toronto (October 27th-30th). We'll be there w/ new work by Ness Lee and of course, good eats and drinks by Drake Catering.

Posted in: Art

Tags: art toronto  drake art  drake catering  jenn murphy