Birth name: Suzy Murphy

Born: 1964, London

Nationality: English

Education: St. Martin's School of Art 1982; Villa Arson, Nice 1985

Awards: 1987 Elizabeth Greenshields Prize (Bursary from McGill University), 1982 Henry Yates Thompson Art Prize

 

"My work is based on things I've seen, experienced, remembered. Things remembered is the thread that runs between all the works, and has done so for many years. I have kept A6 Romney note-books as far back as art school and it is here
that the work begins. These are the diaries of my life and ideas. Everything derives from these. All that I paint and write runs through these pages. These diaries are at the core of my work. As I've said, everything for me is memory. I will try and give some background to
these memories. I was born in London's East End, to a teenage mother and raised by my Irish grandparents with numerous uncles and aunts. My mother and I moved to Alberta, Canada when I was five. I was profoundly influenced by this contrast; this
change of worlds and of all I knew previously. From living with a vast Irish family in a tenement off Brick Lane to the vast open spaces of Canada. With this change of landscape came the emotional shift of being alone. This move of place and feeling has played a big part in my work over the years. My favourite book as a child was Narnia and I think, looking back, that it hooked me so deeply because when Lucy walked through that cupboard door and found herself in another land, covered in white, that too was my experience. My love of North America has remained, and for several years I have holidayed with my husband and sons in Wyoming. We have spent part of the summers in the range of the Rockies that run down from Alberta to Wyoming. Time spent here resonates deeply with me, conjuring memories and images both past and present. My diaries speak of this time and the paintings reflect it. As a mother, my boys have had to live around my work and my need to do it. I have always painted. From childhood until now. It is how I have made sense of my world.
This narrative of my life is the subconscious thread that runs throughout my work. Whether it be as a small girl in the East End, to Alberta, to the time spent with my boys, it is all these memories and places that present themselves in my paintings".
Suzy Murphy, October 2014.