Jennifer Murphy: Elegy For The Golden Toad

Jennifer Murphy

Elegy For The Golden Toad

Saturday, Oct 22nd from 2-5pm. 

22 October - 26 November, 2022

CRG is pleased to announce the opening of Jennifer Murphy's new exhibition at 190 St Helens Avenue in Toronto.

For more than twenty years Jennifer Murphy has pursued her vision of the natural world, one that mimics and exalts and runs parallel to the delicate web of actual interconnections found among the plants and animals that remain with us today and that once lived long ago. In that time her work - painstakingly held together by thread and pins - has taken on a new urgency, and what began as loving homage to feather and leaf, to beak and bone, to gleam of mineral and fold of petal, has become one of alarm and lament. Her research has migrated widely. The ecological mourning found in the poems of W.S. Merwin who died in 2019 connect with the first herbarium created by Renaissance scholar Luca Ghini in the 1500s. The discovery of the Num Cho Ga, a mummified ice age specimen of a woolly mammoth older than 30,000 years on the summer solstice of 2022, with the studies of seaweed collections from the last 150 years at the Ocean Memory Lab at the Monterey Bay Aquarium. She noticed in the Spring of 2021 that the emergence of the Brood X cicadas after their 17 year cycle of dormancy came to echo a past emergence of the same brood in 1919 during the last pandemic. And then in the summer, while the invasive Lymantria Dispar (or Spongy Moth) deleafed the trees outside Murphy's studio at three times the normal rate, she sifted and sorted through her vast visual library with care and reverence, sewing together the works for the show, Insect As Idea (University of Western Ontario) which also included the staggering collection of specimens in the Riker Mounts of the Zoological Collections of the university. Murphy has said that, "nearing the end of making this new work I discovered the poetry collection, Dear Specimen, by W.J. Herbert from 2021 which delves into the deep past to meditate on extinct species and our collective responsibility to those species facing extinction today. It is only through embracing a radical empathy that we can start to grapple with the climate crisis and forge regenerative paths."

The artist would like to acknowledge support from the Canada Council for the Arts, the Ontario Arts Council and the Toronto Arts Council.