Molly Murphy weaves Native American humor, her rich cultural history, and contemporary viewpoint into mixed media beaded objects on display in the Emerson’s Jessie Wilber Gallery. Meet the Missoula artist during Bozeman’s ArtWalk, Friday June 12, 5-8 pm. The exhibit is on display from June 5 – July 24, 2009.
Murphy is a mixed blood descendant of the Oglala/ Lakota tribe. She uses beadwork and felt in both traditional and innovative forms that include beaded bags and boxes as well as a series of beaded XXXL T-shirts. The “super size” of the shirts comments on the very current problem of obesity and diabetes within the Native American community. The shirts are adorned with well-known Indian images such as the basketball and “red power.” Murphy also appropriates pop cultural images such as road signs in her beaded iconography.
Molly Murphy learned beading from her mother at an early age. Her native heritage and formal art education at the University of Montana have shaped her skills and content-driven artworks. When asked about the humor in her work, she responded, “ I once heard… humor is tragedy survived. When you have generations of tragedy, you require prodigious amounts of laughter.” As part of her heritage, humor and irony are often used to get the message across without having to state things directly.
The Molly Murphy exhibit is a springboard for the Emerson’s Summer ArtCamps program for children grades 2-6. For further information about our education and exhibit programs, consult our website: http://www.theemerson.org or call Ellen Ornitz, 587.9797, Ext. 104.