A varied career featuring good balance between realistic, abstract, lyrical and fantasy elements is showcased in “A Retrospective” of work by Regina Murphy at the Oklahoma State Capitol.
“I blend greatly abstracted shapes, with realism, sometimes flatten space, used exaggerated or arbitrary color, and often delineate objects,” the 91-year-old artist who works at Studio Six in the Paseo District said of her work.
“My goal is to produce a painting that is not a ‘postcard' view, but will intrigue the viewer and prolong interest,” added the widely traveled artist, who studied at Oklahoma City University and Louisiana Tech University.
Despite this longtime emphasis in her work, however, Murphy keeps the color scheme much lower key in an early, slightly elevated oil, looking down on a pink-tan “River Bed” in front of distant blue-gray mountains.
A restrained, but quietly glowing use of color combines well with the sheer solidity of the objects depicted, in two oils (on wraparound canvases) from her “Rocks and Boulders Series.”
Even richer hued is a quietly satisfying red-orange, yellow and green acrylic of the “Tallgrass Prairie” from her Oklahoma Landscape series.
Two acrylics of rectangular, Southwestern style, earthen houses, called “Adobe Sunset” and “Autumn Glow,” almost read as a single diptych.
Numerous art objects and other objects are stylized just enough, interacting with the rich color schemes, of two highly accomplished acrylic paintings of interior scenes from her Collectors series.
Fantasy figures prominently in her acrylic of exotic “Bali Puppets,” manipulated with sticks, as well as in “And They Are Off,” a second acrylic on paper of puppet jockeys, starting a horse race, with strings trailing behind them.
More purely abstract are two watercolor, acrylic and collage works on paper from her Experimental series, offering us a wonderfully ethereal evocation of a “Square Dance” and a “Geisha Song.”
Sponsored by the Oklahoma Arts Council, the show of work by one of the state's most well-known and respected artists, is recommended during its run. A reception is planned from 4 to 6 p.m. Tuesday.
— John Brandenburg