Statement and Bio
"I explore the relationship of personal and cultural nostalgia in subject matter, material and method. My work straddles the line between childhood and adulthood while questioning the borders of fine art and traditional craft forms. Personal biography is an influence having a child and fixing up and moving into an abandoned house in Queens in New York City with my partner made me look at the everyday and ordinary that surrounded me from a different perspective. My art also combines references to doll hair, crafts, folk motifs and Americana from my 1970’s childhood in Kansas. I see interdependence between the multiplicities of cultures in our world and make sculpture as a way of recognizing and playing with the unintended and humorous connections between them."
— Ellie Murphy
I was born in Urbana, Illinois, in 1964. When I was 4 years old, we moved to Lindsborg, Kansas, where I grew up with my younger sister. My father taught mathematics at Bethany College where my mother also worked as a nurse, heading the college student health office. After graduating from Lindsborg High School, I attended college at Washington University in St. Louis, Missouri, and received a BFA in Sculpture in 1987. Then, I traveled around Europe and the Middle East for five months visiting more than twenty countries. When I returned, I attended graduate school at Yale University School of Art in New Haven, Connecticut, earning my MFA in Sculpture in 1992. I have lived and worked in New York City ever since. I live now in a house in Queens which was abandoned when we purchased it from HUD (Housing and Urban Development) then fixed up to be habitable. This is where I keep my studio and live with my husband and our son.
I have exhibited my work over the past twenty years in many group and solo shows throughout the United States including Franconia Sculpture Park Minnesota, Brooklyn Public Library, Usdan Center Bennington College, in New York City at The USB Gallery, Lesley Heller Fine Art, Participant, White Columns, Outpost, Storefront, Norte Maar and Schema, in Los Angeles at Artist Curated Projects and LACE, Drawing Rooms in Jersey City, and Mount Airy Contemporary Artists Space in Philadelphia.
Honors received include a Greenwall Foundation Grant, a Jerome Fellowship and The Susan Weadon Award. My work is also in the collection of The BCA, Minneapolis, Minnesota, and I am currently working on two upcoming solo shows at St. Thomas Acqinas College and The Birger Sandzén Memorial Gallery.