Gallery Write Up: Brian Murphy

James Stephens

Jason Bernagozzi

Dgma. 1403-01 SET 302/8:00

20 November 2016


Anaglyph imagery and video are most commonly used as a means to create a stereoscopic effect, tricking the brain into believing that a flat two-dimensional image is actually a third-dimensional object. However, the use of Anaglyph goes far beyond the creation of 3D movies and photographs. It is a form of art in itself. A creative tool that has branched off and become a separate sect of the world of digital creation. One artist that has used this aesthetic persistently and proficiently is Brian Murphy. Many of his pieces are the definition of appropriated images, yet even though they are borrowed, he gives them all their own style, which he displayed in the Llewelyn Gallery.

Brian Murphy is very much an experimental artist, going to odd measures to create new and interesting pieces. He took the sequencing in his DNA and turned it into a sound file, creating music from himself over an altered video of his figure. The music is cryptic with a low gargled sound, something you may hear as background noise at a haunted house. Was it an expression of his inner self? Could it be an extension of him? The sound created by his DNA made the listener think, and wonder, and possibly even confused them. Experimental art can be confusing at times, but in the end it is still art to be appreciated by someone.

Compared to most artists who use appropriated images, Brian Murphy’s reconstruction of videos and images is slightly different. Unlike Ken Jacobs, famous for Tom, Tom, The Piper’s Son and was a part of inspiration for Brian, Murphy’s films are created not as a retelling of a story through found footage, but to give old medium a new style. By deconstructing and putting back together these films, as well as recreating them in an anaglyph display, Murphy has given new life to things like the film Holy Ghost West Virginia, which he used in a piece at the gallery. With each of his pieces, Murphy has gone through frame by frame, picking apart, rearranging, and putting back together to create something new. The videos he uses can go from a few seconds to being a dozen minutes at a time, they take on new forms of their own. The use of anaglyph brings the old images into a new dimension, putting them in the space of the viewer as if it were happening right in front of them, and not on a projector screen or a TV.

Without experimental artists like Brian Murphy, there would be no new concepts or fields of exploration for regular artists to delve into, because they would be too afraid to outstep their boundaries. Art would still be bounded to oil paintings and statues if there weren’t those who went on a whim and created something new, disregarding whether it would fail or not. The risk of failure is not in the mindset of an artist, and less so in the mind of an experimental artist.


Narrative Montage: Hunger Ridden

Narrative montage on procrastination and the ideas and concepts that go through ones head when procrastinating with a comedic style applied to it. It uses metric montage in the transition from day to night as well as rhythmic montage with the back and forth between the paper and the writer.

Political Dadaism Poster


This image comes from my dissatisfaction for the abundance of nuclear weapons that are currently in the world, as well as the lack of concern for them. They are incredibly dangerous to our planet, as well as having the capability to wipe out the human race. They should be dismantled, and the use of nuclear energy should be used as a means to better society instead of destroying it.

With having so many nuclear weapons, I thought of a garden when they are grown on a regular basis, and people are consumers eating up the idea that these weapons are a means for security and safety. The fact of the clouds from the explosions of nuclear weapons being called mushroom clouds gave me the idea to have a mean eat them as a delicacy, and grow more weapons so he could create more mushroom clouds to consume.

In relation to Dadaism and photo collage, this image could have been better. It lacks the nonsense that made Dadaism so popular, and instead it shows more of a cohesive piece. Someone can see how everything relates in the image instead of everything seeming to be random. Is it nonsense that a man is eating a mushroom cloud and is growing nuclear warheads in his backyard? Yes. But does it all seem random and doesn’t correlate with each other? No. So therefore it somewhat fails to relate to Dadaism.


Helvetica Response

Helvetica is the neutral typeface. So neutral that it is used in almost every business, every store, it is plastered all over Time Square. Yet no one seems to notice it. The most common typeface is not recognized by the public because they see it on a daily basis. It is on TV, in stores, on computers and books. The Helvetica documentary by Gary Hustwit delves into the typeface, showing its history, designers opinions on it, and how it affects our society.

Helvetica is incredibly bland. It is neutral, which means that it doesn’t convey emotion. Even though type can actually be expressive, unlike what Massimo Vignelli said in the documentary, Helvetica is not expressive in the slightest. It is best for conveying information, showing you what is new in stores, or what letters are on your keyboard, or what your e-mail says. It is informative, and that is about it. It is not expressive, it does not insight any sense of emotion or feelings within me. It is just bland.

Off the subject of Helvetica, an idea expressed in this documentary states that type should be straightforward, and grid like. I disagree with this, for type can be whatever the designer is trying to convey. It does not need to be locked into certain places, it can be creatively driven in different ways like making things off centered or tilted, mixing things up instead of being stuck in-between the lines.

However something that was conveyed in the documentary was that people should not confuse legibility with communication. I completely agree with this. You do not have to be able to read something in order for it to communicate with you. That is what paintings can do, and that is what typography can do as well.

Objectified Response

Objectified, though titled as a documentary, is more of a social commentary on design fitting into the daily lives of human beings. It was made to give the consumers and average joes of our world insight as to the creators and innovators who design and reconstruct the products of our daily lives. The creators of the film went around the world to record different opinions from different designers, from Paris to Japan, America to Munich, different cultures with different ways of designing. It had them describing their emotions they put into their designs, as well as their inspirations and past experiences.

Design is persistent. Not by means that one design will last forever, but that the concept of design, the ideal of making something better than it already is and doing it creatively, is essentially eternal. Design is prevalent. It has spread to almost every single thing a human can touch, or see, or taste, or hear. Nearly all objects we are in contact with in our daily lives are crafted in certain ways, and yet we rarely stop to think about it. We don’t take a big Pringles can and wonder, why is it round? Why not just fit it around the form of the chip? Design is marketable. People tend to buy the new and the good-looking, they want to be trendsetters. If not trendsetters, they want to follow the trend. Not only is it trends, but marketing accessibility, usability, reusability, comfort, the things that make using products easier, all are brought into consideration during the designing process, as well as using those concepts to market said designs.

The Eloquent Eye Response

Photography in the arts was, at a time, thought of as nothing more than people taking a cheap route in portrait making and image creation. Many critiques believed that photography was not as refined and articulate as painting was. However, the only reason for this is because photography around the time of Alfred Stieglitz had only been around for about 80 years, while painting has been around for thousands of years, giving painting the edge of having enough time to develop.

What photography needed was radical anarchists and free-spirits who were willing to delve into new concepts, and get people to think about not what is just in the photograph, but what the parts of the photograph represents. Much like the double exposure image of Dorothy True’s leg with her face in it. It wasn’t a normal picture of just some woman’s leg in a tight shoe, the accidental addition of her face to the image gave it a sort of new identity. Accidents were not the only way for people to explore artistic creativity in photography. Stieglitz blurred image of the stagecoach in the snow was blurred on purpose. Stieglitz was criticized for the image not being clear, even though to him it was perfect for what he was trying to capture. But it isn’t just technological techniques that made an image artistic. An excellent example is the naked portraits Alfred Stieglitz took of Georgia O’Keeffe. Most people saw people without clothing in art, but that was mostly based in paintings and drawings. This was the bare human form, as it truly is. No mistakes, no disproportions. It was real, and it got people thinking. People didn’t just see it as a naked woman who got her picture taken, it had tension to it, it was dynamic, and it was radically drastic from many photographs before it. It was not of the norm during that time, and that is what makes it powerful.