Local artist seeks to create “a sense of mystery” in work

By Fay Kabasu

Throughout October, artist Marilyn Murphy’s illustrations will be displayed in the Volunteer State Community College Art Gallery, which is located on the first floor of the Steinhauer-Rogan-Black Humanities Building (SRB).

Born in Tulsa, Oklahoma, Murphy lives in Nashville where she is a Professor Emerita of Art at Vanderbilt University. She got her Bachelors of Fine Art at Oklahoma State University and Masters of Fine Art at University of Oklahoma.

Murphy’s drawings are inspired by film noir and the aesthetics of magazines from the 1940’s and 1950’s that she grew up admiring.

The illustrations capture people in dark coloring and shades that evoke a mysterious meaning. According to Merriam-Webster, the definition of “film noir” is, “a type of crime film featuring cynical malevolent characters in a sleazy setting and an ominous atmosphere that is conveyed by shadowy photography and foreboding background music.”

About her art, Murphy stated, “My drawings typically include one or two figures involved in improbable action”, and, “strong lighting and shadows create a sense of mystery while the identities of the men and women are obscured in order to direct the focus of the viewer toward heir activity.”

Students’ Austin Bonebrake and Barbara Martorello enjoying Murphy’s art.