Dreams of fires and tornados are extremely frightening. Having grown up in tornado alley of Tulsa, Oklahoma, Marilyn Murphy’s paintings parallel her personal life with symbolism and surrealism. Her exhibit consists of half graphite drawings and half colorful oil paintings redolent of Wizard of Oz (think black and white movie turns into color and contains a twister). Most of Murphy’s works feature a fire ablaze in the background burning the tall grass. Her paintings are sole landscapes of rotundas, a garden and canopied beds on a lawn. Stars twinkle in the night sky, palm trees sway, but sometimes the landscape bursts into flames and sometimes feet randomly float into the scenery. Murphy’s graphite pictures include motifs of clouds and people dressed in fifties attire. Usually the people are seen from behind or have their faces eclipsed by clouds. With “Twister,” the deadly object ominously touches down tearing up the ground as a rural family looks on in fascination. “Lawn Bowlers” features an upper-class couple throwing balls into a fiery brush. In “Taking the Plunge,” a man dives head first into a sea of puffy white clouds. Murphy allows her dreams to transform into magnificent consciousness. (Garin Pirnia)
Through April 12 at Carl Hammer Gallery, 740 N. Wells.