I am a multimedia artist who uses both natural and artificial materials to create meticulously rendered, highly textured paintings and objects. I combine traditional mediums such as oils, watercolors, and graphite, with organic materials such as dirt, hair, egg shells, and insects to make artworks that blur the line between painting, sculpture, and assemblage.
Highly influenced by memories of growing up in the poorer suburbs of Oklahoma City, my work often showcases evidence of aging man-made infrastructure. I pair images of cracked streets curbs, crumbling brick walls, and blind-covered windows with images of insects, animals, storms, and tornadoes. My creative process is also heavily impacted by my interactions with the natural world. Influenced by scenes from nature, I often hike through wooded areas and parks throughout NYC to acquire source materials and inspiration. Inside my studio the walls are lined with shelves containing boxes and cartons labeled with names like Seed pods, Hay stalks, Cicada shells, Crab claws, Small bones, and the occasional mysterious “???”.
Many of the artworks are small, and must therefore be investigated up close. Once the viewer approaches, they notice small structural components that are embedded or hidden within each work. What appeared to be a red splotch on a blade of grass is actually a carefully rendered ladybug. What seemed to be a discarded piece of chewed-up gum is actually a small, featherless baby bird. Sometimes the artwork resembles a diorama of sorts, with clearly defined framework borders. Occasionally the artwork’s boundaries are questionably unclear; it appears that certain components of the artwork (ants, for example) are quite literally crawling out of the piece and up onto the walls.
I fabricate each object with extreme care, since the materials I use are often as fragile as the subject matter I present. The mediums used in each piece contribute to the artwork’s context. Specific materials like Oklahoma dirt, cicada skins, and shattered glass from a car window all lend to an unspoken narrative that can be teased out with further inspection of each artwork. Fragility is a key component to both the object and the subject. The more the viewer stares at the small creatures in the artworks, investigating their setting and the details therein, the more uncanny the scene appears.
Laura Murray was born and raised in Oklahoma City, OK. She received her BFA from the School of Visual Arts in 2012. She has completed two residencies: the Oklahoma Summer Art Institute Residency in Oklahoma City, and the Snug Harbor Artist Residency Program in Staten Island. She is the recipient of several artist awards, including the Edward & Sally Van Lier Visual Artist Fellowship Grant and the 440 Gallery Choice Award. Her work has been exhibited in numerous venues, including Postmasters Gallery (New York, NY); Concepto Hudson (Hudson, NY); Arc Gallery (San Francisco, CA); the Oklahoma City Museum of Art (OKC, OK), and Galerist (Istanbul). Her work has been featured in New York Magazine, Dazed Magazine, The Nation, and Vice’s The Creators Project.
In 2012 she was a guest artist lecturer at Google headquarters NYC, and in 2017 she co-hosted a creative workshop at Hunter College with art-editor for the New Yorker, Françoise Mouly, and author, Nadja Spiegelman. She currently lives and works in Brooklyn, NY.