Susan Murrell: Sift / Shift

Developing elements in her studio over the last year and building an environment in the Whatcom Museum’s gallery for eight days, artist Susan Murrell has created an immersive experience for viewers to reflect on our built and natural spaces. Murrell works with an intuitive visual language that both organizes and contains with grids and borders, while swaths of sand and paint flow in organic rhythms that recall ripples in water and the expanding cosmos. Through these tactile associations, Murrell explores how we assign value to materials, excavate and harvest, delineate, and build. The artist states, “We live in a place where various cultures have long negotiated a beautiful, fertile, and difficult landscape in hopes it will sustain us. I’m interested in how the prevalent philosophies and priorities of our time sculpt the physical environment and how this place is more porous, interconnected, and transitory than we often realize.”

Murrell has been awarded residencies at programs such as Yaddo, Ragdale, Arteles in Finland, and Westfjords in Iceland. She has exhibited at Siena Heights University, Boise State University, Schneider Museum of Art, Carnation Contemporary, and Portland State University, among others. Her works are in the University of Oregon and the United States Library of Congress, Prints and Photographs Division collections, and she is currently a Professor of Art at Eastern Oregon University in La Grande, Oregon. This exhibition is supported by funds from the Oregon Arts Commission. Additional funding is provided by The Ford Family Foundation and Eastern Oregon University, the Whatcom Museum Foundation, Jean Andresen, and The City of Bellingham.

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