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New Visitor in the Arts

New Visitor in the Creative ArtsThe new Visitor in the Creative Arts for this academic year is sculptor Melissa Pierce Murray. Melissa’s ideas are motivated by interdisciplinary studies in literature and physics, while her love for landscape and materials began during her childhood in the Colorado mountains.

By way of introduction, Melissa placed Awkward Objects on the Main Quad and the Radcliffe Quad. Designed through collaboration with dancers, these works define physical spaces, but also portray emotional territories. Awkward Objects was exhibited and presented in performance with dancers in Wakefield Cathedral this summer.

New Visitor in the Arts

Awkward Objects on Main Quad

Melissa’s other recent works explore ideas of how humans relate to physical environments and to each other around the world. With Stasis: Iceland, she embedded spiky black shards of steel in transparent ice and with Shift: China, participants created repositionable structures using hollow clay boulders and large wooden blades.

Alongside developing a new body of work entitled Carbon, Melissa will host drawing and making workshops entitled “Experimental Drawing for Artists and Other People Who Think They Can’t Draw.”

New Visitor in the Arts

Awkward Objects on Radcliffe Quad

She is also keen to work with students, tutors and staff on project-based sessions with specific outcomes. One previous example of this is NanoVignettes, which are microfilms of nanoscience seen through the eyes of artists.

Melissa discussed her first few weeks at Univ:

“I’ve had a wonderful few weeks settling in and getting to know the Univ community. To mark the beginning of my stay here, I placed sculptures on the Main and Radcliffe Quads, assisted by the very helpful groundsmen and gardeners. By now, they have helped me move them about several times, and I think enjoy participating in the considerations of the best placements.

New Visitor in the Arts

What is drawing?

“At the matriculation dinners, I placed small sculptures on the tables in the hall, angular wire forms with coloured paper strips with subtle ink writing asking, ‘What is drawing?’ I greatly enjoyed coffee and discussions with the JCR and MCR presidents in my room, getting their feedback on my ideas and hearing their own.

“I am meeting Fellows during meals or over coffee and beginning to hatch plans- so many wonderful ideas to pursue. I’ll be contributing something to the ‘Thinking 3D’ event next Friday and will be involved in developing creative responses to the 40th anniversary of women at Univ.”

New Visitor in the Arts

One of Melissa’s sculptures in the library

Melissa is around and available every day and welcomes discussions, questions and ideas. Please feel free to stop her in the quad, see her in room or email her on melissa.murray@univ.ox.ac.uk.

You can read more about her work on her websiteTwitter or Instagram.

Published: 21 October 2019

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