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Capitol show presents lifetime of works from revered Oklahoma artist

For The Oklahoman
Modified: March 5, 2013 at 3:12 pm •  Published: March 5, 2013

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.

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