The Parlor Paintings, Installation at REAL ART WAYS, summer 2008.
watercolor and acrylic on oval paper framed
20" x 14" each

"Margaret Murphy’s post-feminist portraits of mass-produced objects address the artificially created dichotomy of women into “good” and “bad” categories. As objects of mass consumption, the figurines serve to underscore this system of (mis)identification. By adapting them for her work, the artist critiques the role of the object, and, by extension, the complicity of the consumer and the spectator."
~ Rocio Aranda-Alvarado, Ph.D., Curator, Jersey City Museum

In this series of watercolor and acrylic paintings I am examining mass produced figurines that depict women as either “good” or “bad” according to cultural norms. I find my source material at stores and web sites that cater to the general consumer public like ebay, souvenir stores, 99cent stores, the neighborhood greeting card store and party stores. In one case the figurine is a reclining female figure in thigh high stockings. The object itself is made to cradle a cell phone. In my paintings of this figurine she is laying in a field of flowers or camouflage print. In another painting the figurine is a demure ballerina peering over her shoulder with her gaze towards the floor. Both reinforce artificial representations of women as either naughty or nice.

In my reexamination of these figurines I isolate the figure and place her in a setting that is reminiscent of Victorian wallpaper, a field of flowers, or a solid void of color. The oval format of the paintings is a reference to Victorian motifs or portraits found in a Victorian parlor.
Good Girls/ Bad Girls, The Parlor Paintings