Jennifer Murphy’s work ‘The Shadow of Sirius’ lies in the centre of the gallery. On a raised circle covered with soil, a spiral of seashells swirls outward from the centre, echoing the spiral inherent in the form of each individual shell.
“What interested me in Jennifer’s piece was how it captures the idea of rotation of the earth, rotation around the sun, and the solar system and the infinite rotation of the universe,” said Castro.
Murphy said that her work is “about ecology and loss”, and much of her work comes from what she calls the “assemblage” of different things she collects. “Being a collector is like being a hunter, and the chance and surprise of stumbling on something is part of what inspires me,” she added.
The shells in ‘The Shadow of Sirius’ come from a collection of 1,500 shells from around the world that a woman in Ontario collected and logged throughout her life. When she died, her son put the collection in an online auction and Murphy bought it.
As one stands looking at the spiral, or walks slowly around the work, one is witness to a collection that includes species that are now extinct.
“I could tell by the logbook, that this was an elegy to what we’re losing on the planet,” said Murphy.
Alluding to the poetic form similar to a eulogy, Murphy invites viewers to contemplate the swirl of memory, time, and connection, and like the generation before them that pondered similar questions, this present generation of art makers contemplates what the future may hold for them.
“This work is also about loss, coupled with the fantastical, beauty and hope,” said Murphy. “Everyone is looking for a different way of being in the world, and asking different questions in different ways.”
Mystic Toolkit runs until March 8 at Stewart Hall Art Gallery, 176 Lakeshore Dr, Pointe-Claire.