If Henry Murphy summons a sort of everyday magic, Eileen Murphy (no relation) transports us to another realm entirely. Entirely different painting styles drive the expressive content of their respective works. Eileen Murphy’s “Speak to Me from Everywhere” at Thomas VanDyke Gallery hints at multifarious sources. With oil on panel, she knits vistas drawn from life, art history, and poetry into surreal dreamscapes. Drawing on Dutch Golden Age painting as well as the Hudson River and Barbizon schools, she arrives at her own unique pastorals; think Julie Heffernan meets Joan Nelson.


Eileen Murphy’s landscapes employ a kind of hyperrealism that showcases the techniques and conventions of painting itself. The tentacles of a tree’s root system break into cascading ribbons, clusters of leaves and blossoms blaze into starlit constellations, and shorelines wind and flow into silken scrolls. In many works, hazy moons orbit over high-key skylines in different climates. The roiling, storybook composition of In Repose has a nude woman languishing in the woods beside a stream full of koi. Within the frame of the small panel, Murphy presents a fascinating array of visual phenomena from foreground to background. Billowing smoke, a checkered blanket, writhing trees, and a flock of birds coalesce in a topsy-turvy tableau that suggests Mark Greenwold’s domestic interiors.


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