Working in a contemporary culture where the attainment of beauty is paramount and science strives to engineer the ultimate look, Murphy’s photography and video explore opposing positions in the relationship between consumption and rebellion of these ideals. What contemporary advertising and media culture continue to broadcast as acceptable and expected in female appearance, gives Murphy the material to examine the motivations of the wearer and the observer of beauty treatments and products.
Inspired by Op Art and Third-Wave Feminism, Murphy works to produce slick macro close-ups of the adorned, treated body and beauty “tools”. Through her processes of scientific observation and interpretation, she playfully uses beauty products as art materials going against their intended purpose to conceal or accentuate parts of the body.
Beauty in its contemporary context is Murphy’s discourse. She shifts the “gaze” from the female as a subject to over-the-counter beauty maintenance products. Murphy repeats forms and magnifies the subject creating optical plays for the viewer to discern. The resulting images blend perceptual space and our cultural space…showing beauty as both a real and abstract consumable obsession.