Statement & Resume

Puzzle Collages

Soda Coke Pop




"Everyday Things: Transparent Abstractions"
You would think everyday things would be the least exciting, most mundane commonplace idea you could have to base a body of artwork on. Since starting a family I have been preoccupied with thinking about how a work of art operates, how it can persuade or affect an audience. Having spent the majority of my life looking at it, I’ve realized the art I respond to most have been those works which open a path to new possibilities. These are not life changing possibilities, but more along the lines of life enriching.

Art is not practical. It will not create peace in the Middle East, it will not slow the deforestation of the rain forests, ease global warming, stop unwanted pregnancies, art is not practical.

For years I have collected commercial packaging.  In the “desire” designed into this packaging, I have seen Blechners, Mardens, Warhols; art has infiltrated the everyday. When it is all boiled down, art is about contemplation and recognition. The artist has the luxury of contemplating the beauty or horror of a thing and recognizing the possible ways to present that contemplation to the rest of us. The works in this show are about my recognizing opportunities for that type of contemplation out of my commonplace everyday life and tracking those recognitions into my studio practice.

The result of all this contemplating, are works whose abstract elements become transparent in their directness. These are subtle links between different times and places through the recognition of shared visual qualities. Those qualities are then quoted from their source and subjected to an intuitive system designed to offer a balance between what is given to the artist and what is presented to the viewer. Whether art has infiltrated the everyday, or the everyday has infiltrated art is not important. To recognize the pleasure in the moment of contemplating it is the reward. What art can do well is remind us we are human and aid us in an individual pursuit of happiness.


"Soda, Coke, Pop" and "Empty Calories"
These “packaged” works are meant to be the pitchmen for desire stripped bare from the familiar shelves of your local grocery store.  I look for consumer goods that display visual clues that are related to a product’s desirability.  The manipulation of visual desire as a constructed utopia where a product is enlarged to show texture or in suspended animation in order to raise the consumer’s hope for perfection, is the starting point for these pieces. 
The strategy behind the “packaged” work is to serve as a neutral meeting ground between cultural and economic capital; the result is a reclaiming of visual desire as a possible location for art, and an invitation to think about the pleasure of looking.

1998 M.F.A. Northwestern University, Evanston, IL
1996 M.A. Museum Studies, Fine Arts Collection Management, Texas Tech University, Lubbock, TX
1989 Post-Baccalaureate Certificate The School of the Art Institute of Chicago, IL
1986 B.F.A. Texas Tech University, Lubbock, Texas
Awards, Grants & Collections:
2003 Faculty Honor Roll, Northwestern University, Evanston, IL
1998 Scholarship Award for Painting, Union League of Chicago, IL
1997 Teaching Assistant Fellow, Searle Center for Teaching Excellence, Northwestern University, Evanston, IL
1996–1998 Teaching Assistantship Scholarship. Dept. of Art Theory & Practice. Northwestern University, Evanston, IL
1988 Mountain Plains Museum Association, Annual Meeting Scholarship Award, Littleton, CO
2010 MMX, Group Show, Zg Gallery, Chicago, IL
2009 Art In the Metroplex, Templeton Art Center, Texas Christian University, David Pagel, juror, Fort Worth, TX
VAST, 4th Annual 125-Mile Visual Arts Exhibition, Texas Womens University, West Gallery, Denton, TX
Delineations, Group Show, 500X, Dallas, TX
Cluster F*#k,
Group show, Zg Gallery, Chicago, IL
2008 Summer Group Show, Zg Gallery, Chicago,IL
Spring Benefit,
Evanston Art Center, Evanston, IL.
  Sheets, Planes and Pulp: Works on (and of) Paper, Evanston Art Center, Evanston, IL
Paper Now
, I Space Gallery, group show, Chicago, IL
Summer 2007
, group show, Zg Gallery, Chicago, IL
Art of Play
, Chicago Cultural Center, Art of Play Center, Puzzle Week, Chicago, IL
2006 "Everyday Things, Transparent Abstractions: New Works by Mark Murphy" Zg Gallery, Chicago, IL see reviews
Bridge Art Fair, with Zg Gallery, Miami, FL
"Systematic," South Bend Regional Art Museum, IN
"Summer Show '06" Zg Gallery, Chicago, IL
2005 "Working Process" Zg Gallery, Chicago, IL
"Summer Show '05" Zg Gallery, Chicago, IL
"Empty Calories, New paintings and Puzzle Collages by Mark Murphy," Zg Gallery, Chicago, IL
see reviews
Art Chicago, International Invitational, Zg Gallery, Chicago, IL

Simultaneous Browsing, 2 person show, Tarble Art Center, Eastern Illinois University, Charleston, IL (catalog)
Logos & Trademarks,
2 person show, Prater Rouse Gallery, Norfolk, VA


Artboat, participating artist, Standard Gallery, Chicago, IL
Slop Supermarket 2003 World Tour, group show, Contemporary Arts Center, St. Louis, MO


POP Culture Road Show, Invitational group show, NFAA Fundraiser, New York, NY
Paper Products
, Evanston Art Center, Evanston, IL


Enjambments; Recent Painting, Color and Collage Enigmas, Solo Exhibition, Artemisia, Chicago, IL
Look: Paint, Beacon Street Gallery, Chicago,  IL.
Les Chemical Carnalese, Four person show curated by Ed Paschke, Hyde Park Art Center, Chicago, IL.
The Art of Wega, digital exhibition in conjunction with Sony. Various locations in New York, NY & Chicago, IL
200 Rockford Midwestern Exhibition, Artists of the New Millennium, Rockford Art Museum, Rockford, IL
REDO, Standard, Chicago, IL

Pop Inventory
, 2 person show, Peter Miller Gallery, Chicago, IL
Evanston & Vicinity 15th Biennial Exhibition, juried exhibition, Evanston Art Center, Evanston, IL
Slop Super Market 2000 Catalog & Showroom Tour, Hiestand Galleries, Miami University, Oxford, OH:

also traveled to: The Pumphouse Regional Arts Center, La Crosse, WI; Sheperd College, Sheperdstown, WV

1999 PULP, group show, Standard, Chicago, IL
SLOP SOUTH, group show, Dishman Gallery, Lamar University, Beaumont, TX
Chicago Art Open, Third Floor Gallery, School of the Art Institute, Chicago, IL
Home Show, Landmark Arts, Texas Tech University, Lubbock, TX
Room Service, Room 1519, Kansas City, MO
1998 3rd Occasional Survey of Abstract Art in Chicago, Klein Art Works, Chicago, IL
Landmark Arts, Texas Tech University, Lubbock, TX
Scholarship Show, Union League of Chicago, Chicago, IL
Off Guard, Colfax House, Evanston, IL
Big Ten Art, Invitational Show, Big Ten Conference Center, Park Ridge, IL
1997 I Paid $25 to Exhibit My Art in this Show, "The Beret Gift Shoppe" Beret International Gallery, Chicago, IL
UNSETTLED, NONSETTLED, RESETTLED, Hall Gallery, Northwestern Settlement House, Chicago, IL
Scholarship Show, Union League of Chicago, Chicago, IL
Art Classic '97, Lubbock Arts Alliance, Lubbock, TX
Graduate Student Group Show, Dittmar Memorial Gallery, Northwestern University, Evanston, IL
1996 End of Year Show, Gallery 2, The School, Art Institute of Chicago, Chicago, IL
1995 Three for Three, Third Annual Show, Major Artery, Dallas, TX
Annual Group, Annual show, Oak Lawn Center, Dallas, TX

The Controversy & the Camp of the Cane. MDAT Gallery, Dallas, TX
Juried show, Lubbock Arts Alliance, Lubbock, TX
Texas Juried Competition, Stout McCourt Gallery, Dallas, TX



Chicago Tribune, “Calories Thrills Our Sense of Taste,”  Review by Alan G. Artner,  Sec.7, p.32, 6/10/2005


Dialogue Magazine “Perfect: a group exhibition” Review by John Brunetti, p. 22, May/June 2004 issue
Chicago Tribune, “Perfect” Review by Alan G. Artner,  Sec.7, p.23, March 19, 2004


New American Paintings, Juried Exhibition in print, No. 41, Stephen T. Zevitas, ed., Vol. 7, No. 4, pp.94-97.
Chicago Tribune, “Paper exhibit breaks out to a new dimension”  by Alan G. Artner, Sec.5, p.3, 3/21/03

Evanston Press,
Evanston Art Center presents Paper As Art,” Review by Melanie Amin, p.5, March 10, 2002


Artist Alumni: Recent Graduates of the MFA Program, , Northwestern University, Mary and Leigh Block Museum, Catalogue
The Plain Dealer,  “Abstract Painters Make the Medium Their Own,” by Dan Tramberg, Cleveland, 11/26/02, “Price Check, Mark Murphy at Standard,” by Adam Mikos, Gravy #11

Chicago Social, “Picassos in Bloom,” by Lucia Mauro, p. 84-87, May Issue


Hyde Park Herald, “Chemical Brothers: An Arresting Exhibit,”  by Cara Glatt, p.9, 11/29/00
New Art Examiner
, “Pop Inventory,” by Kevin Blasko, p. 42, July/August Issue

Pioneer Press
, “Artists Make the Cut,” Review by Bruce Ingram, p. B 13, 3/9/00

Gallery Information
Books & Catalogs
Murphy Book


300 W. Superior St.
Chicago, IL 60654

Please contact
Zg Gallery
for further information.

T. 312.654.9900


. Copyright © 2016    Zg Gallery Inc. All rights reserved