- Liz Publika
Event Spotlight: TRAUMATICA DRAMATICA, a solo exhibition by Meg Lionel Murphy at The Untitled Space
There are many ways to illustrate pain — to depict its searing, jagged edges — and artist Meg Lionel Murphy chose to portray it in pink.
In Traumatica Dramatica, Murphy’s solo exhibition curated by Indira Cesarine and presented by The Untitled Space that debuts in New York City this weekend, the artist explores the pain she experienced at the hands of an abusive partner that left her with debilitating PTSD. Bold, fantastical, and emotionally charged, each painting is a story that is as autobiographical as it is rooted in art history, while also remarkably colorful and inviting.
On view from June 5th to July 2nd, Traumatica Dramatica features “detailed, vivid works on paper and panel depicting heartbroken giants that magically grow larger, stronger, and scarier than the world around them.” Channeling her experience into artistic inspiration, Murphy skillfully illustrates her pain and the ongoing process of recovery. In other words, she's using her past to grow as an individual and an artist as she outgrows her abuser.
The pinkness of her works appears to be a tribute to the feminine, the creative, and the hopeful. But it’s also a reminder of the “pretty in pink” stereotype that both highlights and pervades how people perceive women, as if they're weak, fragile, or passive; and it is this side of pink that is tied to the subjugation of women. “The idea of violence haunts me,” explains the artist, “and I try to etch that subject into even the pinkest of paint.”
From Frida Kahlo’s “Self-Portrait on the Border Between Mexico and the United States of America” to the pussyhats used by women’s rights advocates, artists and creatives have been reclaiming the color as a symbol of strength, independence, and assertiveness. Murphy, too, is using pink as well as other visuals that people typically associate with women, children, and different marginalized groups to show that there is a different way to appreciate and interpret them.
“My favorite stories as a girl were about unicorns, rainbows, fairies, and angels,” writes Murphy in her artist statement. “Trees could talk. Flowers had faces.” In fact, flowers seem to be another strong and recurring theme, popping up in some form in almost every single work. Though flowers are often symbolic of fertility and reproduction, when it comes to Murphy’s work, I’m inclined to interpret them as a symbol of survival.
“I want my paintings to be good luck charms. To be talismans of growth,” explains the artist. And in my humble opinion, Meg Lionel Murphy is succeeding at attaining her goal and is blossoming in the process. Check out more of her work at The Untitled Space and stop on by for the artist reception on June 10th, from 6 to 9 pm.
Note* All of the event information and images are provided by our partners. The article was last updated on June 3rd, 2021.