Toggle Mobile Catalog Menu
Catalog Navigation

Rachael Murphy
Portland, Maine

Artist, Rachael K Murphy, originally from Massachusetts, lives and works in Maine. She is a recent graduate of the University of Maine in Orono. Murphy leaves with a BFA in Studio Art with a concentration in printmaking and a BA in Art Education with a minor in Art History. She finds inspiration in Maine ecosystems and how human activity impacts wildlife. Murphy’s artwork oscillates between realistic imagery and abstract forms, depending on the chosen media. It is a vehicle for processing personal interactions with the world, simultaneously layered with broader issues and themes. Complex, broken patterns and colors create a larger image or form. This patterning acts as a façade hiding themes and subjects, like the perfected masks we all seem to wear interacting with the world. This patterning also brings intricate beauty to her subjects that may appear ordinary or mundane. Murphy’s first series of large-scale woodcuts is titled Remnants 2020-21, and are a record of her summer through encounters with wildlife around Weld, Maine where she spends summers. City Forest (2021), Honey Hole (2021), and City Forest (2021) are part of the Remnants series. This series is a search for positivity during stressful and uncertain times with the pandemic and climate change. Interactions with creatures and places fix the artist’s mind in the present as an observer. Human activity is present in every environment. Even when nature takes back developed areas, it is never quite the same. We are only visitors until these places become molded to humanity’s needs. The prints following this series continue the messaging of lasting human impacts on natural environments in Maine. More recent prints look at invasive plants and aquatic species found in freshwater ecosystems. The artist includes a great deal of careful research looking at threatened species, protected species, and invasive species. The series also includes potential invasive species, as the Gulf of Maine is warming faster than any other part of the ocean in the world. The artist’s goal is to present pieces with immense beauty that require careful looking. On the surface, viewers can appreciate the complexity of patterns and carefully rendered animals. Murphy’s woodcuts are initially appealing to the eye, then lead to more serious, meaningful conversations. A viewer must spend time with each piece to fully understand the gravity of Maine’s beauty in crisis.

City Forest (2021)
Honey Hole (2021)