What's Going On Here?

Bio

1979-1984 BA (1st Class) and MA Fine Art Sculpture, Manchester Polytechnic as a mature student.

1983-1992 Sculptural work on a domestic theme shown at e.g. Salford, Bluecoat, Cornerhouse, Scott, Rochdale, Young Contemporaries.

1987-2016 Working collaboratively with Tea (Lynn Pilling, Peter Hatton, Jon Biddulph) on large scale, temporary, public art projects at locations including a ruined chemical industry site, environs of the Manchester Ship Canal, buildings associated with the cotton industry and the grounds of Orleans House. Commissioners included Tate Liverpool, Bluecoat, South Bank, The Whitworth, The Ferens, Widnes, Canal 2000, Richmond-on-Thames, LIFT and Artranspennine.

1990-2006 Senior Lecturer in Art and Place on the B.A. and M.A. Fine Art courses at University of Central Lancashire.

2020/21 Selected for the bOlder programme, Castlefield Gallery.

Online selected exhibitions: Another Place, The Virus Who Came To Tea, Interim Arts, The Flux Review Virtual Exhibition, Aire-Place, r_is_n.projects, Artists Responding To  Zine and website.

Val Murray Art Works

Back Story

Before Art School I worked in local government and looked after my two sons. After Art School I had exhibitions and residences and gained experience of working with curators and engaging with the public. The formation of Tea in 1987 was to be a brilliant endeavour. The work we made in response to locations was beyond anything in scale and ambition we might have achieved alone. We were commissioned by major organisations, usually by invitation. We negotiated the use of a variety of locations and constructed temporary projects including working with their users and other experts. We gained a significant reputation and I gained enormous experience. Between our last project in 2016 and 2019 I had other commitments and have only recently returned seriously to my own work. I carry with me the experience, skills and insights of all those years of practice. The bOlder programme has helped me to revalue this history, understand my current context and develop new work.

I have always been fascinated by the ordinary places, objects and activities which make up the world I inhabit. How do humans and their environments, natural and built, interact? I am interested in Mabey, Tsing et al’s ideas of complex interrelations between species and survival in a ruined planet through 'wonderous attention' and 'creative curiosity'. I document examples of Entanglements. I aim to make tangential reference to human impact on the natural world rather than to ‘preach’.


Collage (2D and 3D), composition of different elements, the power of one thing juxtaposed with another, has always been at the core of my practice. My current work is a combination of sculptural interest in form and space with making photographs. I am investigating the construction of the photographic image to see how it can represent the layered identity of the ordinary and extend its imaginative possibilities. I work in series so that images cross connect and narratives are extended. My digital images can be presented in various sizes, formats and contexts including on line, publication, exhibition and installation.


By creating tableaux which bring together images, natural and made objects of various scales I explore our relationship to nature through the microcosm of a domestic setting. I am interested in the agency of materials and objects and their capacity to evoke narrative. My images are disquieting rather than didactic allowing space for viewers to make connections, to explore possible narratives, to ask 'What is Going on Here?'.

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