Artist explores knowledge at University exhibition

11/25/2008 - By: Jon Fortenbury

The art exhibition of Susan Murrell kicked off on Nov. 20 at the University and runs until Dec. 16 in the Sheppard Gallery.

“I really do love having exhibitions in educational institutions,” Murrell said. “I think that there’s a different vibe in general. People tend to be more involved.”

At this exhibition, Murrell created wall-based installations and multidimensional installations. In Murrell’s art, she often uses scientific illustrations and abstract expressionism to explore how one acquires and processes knowledge. Murrell attempts to understand the vague world through illustrations, something she thinks we all try to do.

“I think there are a lot of things in this world that we try to categorize or understand and in doing so, we often times simplify things into illustrations,” she said.

If not well received, Murrell wants her artwork at the Sheppard Gallery to at least be critically received. She finds inspiration from these kinds of interactions.

“I just hope that there’s some sort of engagement because through that experience, I get ideas for my next pieces,” Murrell said. “The conversations that come out of that inspire me.”

Murrell has done independent artwork and public art projects for over 15 years. Some semesters she teaches college or does after school programs. She always tries to keep her schedule flexible though in case she has to leave her home in Hood River, Ore. for an art project.

“Flexibility is important to me,” Murrell said. “This (art) is what I’d rather be doing, so I keep real flexible contract sort of work.”

On the opening night of the exhibition, Murrell gave a lecture followed by a reception. The reception gave people a chance to meet both Murrell and Marjorie Vecchio, the director of Sheppard Gallery and curator of the show.

Four students assisted in putting the show together, gaining them experience and providing them insight into an artist’s process. The four invited student assistants were Jeremy Stern, Kim Musser, Ashley Westwood and Jackson Mueller.

Located in the Church Fine Arts Building, the Sheppard Gallery is open from 11-5 on Monday-Thursday and from 11-2 on Fridays. For more information, call (775) 784-6658 or go to the Department of Art.

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