Substance by Rebecca Murtaugh – Amanda Dobbin

After viewing Rebecca Murtaugh’s exhibition titled “Substance,” I was very inspired by her entire backstory and why and how she created the work in her exhibition.

To begin, Mrs. Murtaugh explained how she came from a family of “makers” and artists. Therefore, she was bound to appreciate art and have a sense for making it. However, once she got to college she studied chemistry, nutrition and sustainability and her passion for art slightly disappeared. She additionally shared that she tried to take as many art courses in college as possible but since she took a majority of science courses, it was extremely difficult to do so and fit art into her schedule. With all of this background in mind, as she graduated she decided to bring the chemistry lab into the food scenery and work with food in an artistic way. This I thought was specifically interesting because science and nutrition are not entirely correlated, yet she still managed to connect the two.

With this, she continued into her up and coming art career where she uses her methods from chemistry (using different elements, putting them together, burning etc.) in order to make sculpture. In her exhibition she showed a variety of colorful pieces that have a juxtaposing composition to them. As stated, her goal was to combine different materials with contemporary ones such as ones from her own living room and make something with a destructive political statement attached to them. Personally, I think that this is genius because at first look of her sculptures it is hard to understand the subject matter as well as what the actual object is. Nevertheless, when exposed to how she created her sculptures such as hitting it with a baseball ball or creating a entire vagina collection (in relation to Feminist art), I understand the background purpose of it and enjoyed her work truly.

My favorite piece from Mrs. Murtaugh was titled “Three Leaners” using three trees from her backyard as well as three primary colors. I like the fact that it was leaning on the wall and the alchemy she used to produce it. Overall, I thought Mrs. Murtaugh’s work was genius and there was a sense of symbolism and conceptual art feel yet being contemporary.

2 Replies to “Substance by Rebecca Murtaugh – Amanda Dobbin”

  1. Murtaugh’s piece “Three Leaners” was also my favourite from her works yesterday because of her surprising use of primary colours and the texture created on the branches themselves. I also liked how they were displayed leaning agains the wall because of the shadows created of the branches by the dramatic lighting. The shadows added depth and added to the overall intensity of the piece.


  2. I loved Rebecca’s show last night. I agree with you that her background in chemistry and nutrition among others is a great touch to her work. It’s her own little spin she can put on the art, which I’d love to be able to do with my work. Her colors really stuck out to me, like you said with the Leaners. I enjoyed the colors of the Feelers and was so amazed to find out it was paint someone was going to throw out!

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