Lauri Lynnxe Murphy is the featured artist for Untitled Final Friday: In/Visible at the Denver Art Museum on October 25. Read our Q&A below to learn more about her and her practice, and then join us at Untitled! (Check out the program of events.)
(Claude Monet: The Truth of Nature requires a separate ticket. Time slots for October 25 are selling out quickly.)
I’m trying to evoke in people a sense of wonder at the natural world, and a sense of biophilia — an intense love of nature, in order to awaken them to what we stand to lose.
What inspires you?
Nature, always nature. I have a very research-driven practice, and often my ideas are centered around finding a way to show people a part of the natural world that they take for granted or might not ordinarily see. I’m trying to evoke in people a sense of wonder at the natural world, and a sense of biophilia—an intense love of nature, in order to awaken them to what we stand to lose.
I’m the person who, on a hike, ignores the stunning vista to stare at the dirt and watch a bug or obsess over a tree disease. I’m always more immersed in the minutiae than the bigger picture. Ultimately, I’m trying to make the invisible visible, whether it be through exploiting natural systems or preserving the meandering, ephemeral path of a snail. I know that whenever I’m in a creative rut, a quick trip to the mountains or a hot springs is always a cure, although if I never had another idea in my life, I still wouldn’t have time to finish all the ones I’ve already had.
What aspects of your creative practice are you excited to share with visitors at Untitled?
I think visitors are getting a chance to interact with my work in a sort of behind-the-scenes way and experience it more as I do...getting to play with the shadows in the snail drawings is something I do when I’m mounting them in a frame, and watching the bees up close is an endlessly fascinating joy. Since much of what I do is based on some pretty unusual processes, it’s fun to get to share how things are made and let people meet my small collaborators in person.
What opportunities has Untitled given you to see your practice in a new way?
Throughout the years, curation has always been a side part of my practice, a way to explore ideas that don’t fit into my studio work or highlight intersections I see between my own work and other artists. Untitled has let me play in that realm again and has had me looking outward instead of inward. So much of what I do is inherently collaborative, but it’s nice to collaborate with humans again for a change!
...to get to play for an evening at the DAM and engineer magical fun is the greatest honor imaginable to me, a kid who grew up riding yellow buses [to the museum] for field trips.
What art collections/exhibitions are you connecting to for this event, and how are they inspiring you?
Light and shadow have always been important elements in my work, so The Light Show is a perfect inspiration for ideas, and having the opportunity to share the spotlight of the Monet show is incredible, given that we’re both, 100 years apart, dealing with the natural world, as artists always have and always will.
Responding to The Light Show with a collaborative performance came directly out of my memories over the years of Lucas Samaras’ Corridor #2, which blew my mind the first time I saw it and every time since. It’s an honor to have the opportunity to work with other artists to create a new experience for visitors with it.
What do you hope visitors will get out of your Untitled event at the Denver Art Museum?
I want visitors to leave as fascinated with all of these tiny creatures I work with as I am, and hopefully, to learn something new. Though mostly, I hope they have fun and get to experience something they never have before!
We have so many things happening that will be completely new experiences for visitors—getting to pin a beetle the way an entomologist would with Adrienne DeLoe, or play in the light of Chris Bagley’s magic, or share an intimate poetry confession with Tameca L Coleman. And I hope people do try our specialty cocktail!
What does a program like Untitled mean to the local Denver arts community?
Representation is so, so important. Despite being raised by an artist, I didn’t really know that women could be artists for real until the Landscape as Metaphor show at the DAM [in 1994] introduced me to Judy Pfaff’s work—it was the first work by a woman I had ever seen in a museum. I already knew I was an artist by that point, but seeing that show let me know that it was possible as a career. So to get to play for an evening at the DAM and engineer magical fun is the greatest honor imaginable to me, a kid who grew up riding yellow buses [to the museum] for field trips. For young people to see that not only artists from history, but real, live local artists have the support and endorsement of an institution like the DAM is deeply meaningful, both to the artists and the broader community.
What’s up next?
Untitled falls on the heels of a major exhibition for me, We Were Here, which spanned two galleries in the Santa Fe Arts District (Mai Wyn Fine Arts and ReCreative), so I’ve barely had time to think about what’s next! I’m excited to expand our hives in the spring and make more bee work, and I’m very slowly working on a collaborative immersive project about grieving lost species that hopefully will premier in 2021. Other than that, I have a couple of exciting projects coming up that I’m not yet allowed to talk about, so stay tuned!
Where can people learn more about you and your work?
I am represented by Mai Wyn Fine Art on Santa Fe Drive in Denver, I write about other wonderful people in the community monthly for Birdy Magazine, and my website is www.lynnxe.com. You also can learn about me in a recent Westword Colorado Creatives Redux.