A varied career, which creates a good balance between realistic and abstract, lyrical and fantasy elements, is showcased in “A Retrospective” of work by Regina Murphy at the Oklahoma State Capitol, 2300 N Lincoln Blvd.
“I blend greatly abstracted shapes, with realism, sometimes flatten space, use 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,” said Murphy, 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.
Equally understated — and effective — is an oil of the side of a rock “Commercial Building,” which has an almost abandoned or derelict feel, also from Murphy’s Early Work series.
A restrained, but quietly glowing use of color, seeming to emanate from within, combines well with the sheer solidity of the objects depicted, in two oils (on wrap-around canvases) from her “Rocks and Boulders Series.”Even richer hued, but still realistic, is a quietly satisfying, horizontally hung, red-orange, yellow and green acrylic of the “Tallgrass Prairie” from her Oklahoma Landscape series.
Handled realistically too, and glowing with color, are two acrylics of rectangular, Southwestern-style, earthen houses, called “Adobe Sunset” and “Autumn Glow,” in front of violet hills, which 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.
Even more stylized, simplified and naively appealing are the outlined orange and green trees, and sketched in grass and foliage, found in two pleasantly appealing, nearly dreamlike acrylic landscapes form her Special Places 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 through April 14 in the capitol’s first floor East Gallery. A delayed reception for the exhibit will be held from 4 p.m. to 6 p.m. March 12.
Hours are from 8 a.m. to 6 p.m. seven days a week. Call 521-2931 or visit the website at www.arts.ok.gov for information.