The Matrix 2019: Althea Murphy-Price

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Seniors Emily Duffy and Mary Hellerman observe Althea Murphy-Price and her pieces. Photo courtesy of Claire Schwartz.

In 1985, Juergen Strunck spearheaded a program with the hopes of gifting a large edition of prints to students. Now, the Matrix Program has developed this concept further by inviting other printmakers to collaborate with the University of Dallas printmaking students in order to create a joint body of work.

Previously reserved for the the spring semester only, the Matrix Program has expanded to include artists in the fall semester as well. Every year, UD invites a visiting artist to spend a week at the university to give a small solo exhibition and to work with the students to create an edition of prints.

The artist gives a lecture about his or her work and offers a demonstration of the creative process behind the work. Each student who participates in the creation of the edition is gifted with one of the created prints.

The Matrix Program is beneficial to the visiting artist through the promotion of their work. Additionally, it is a valuable experience for the printmaking students to expand their knowledge of the printing processes and foster a collaborative energy with fellow artists.

Many of these Matrix prints are available to be viewed by the public in the Hagger foyer as well as in the foyer of the Beatrice M. Haggerty Gallery.

This spring semester, UD’s Printmaking Department is hosting printmaker Althea Murphy-Price for the Matrix Program. The printmaking process that Murphy-Price uses during Matrix is called photolithography.

This is a process similar to lithography, which challenges the concept of the immiscibility of oil and water. During photolithography, an image is etched onto a plate by light exposure. The surface of the plate plays a key role in the creation of the print as well as in the statement of Murphy-Price’s work. During the printing process, the surface of the plate must remain damp in order for the etched areas of the plate to receive the ink, rather than the unetched areas.

Murphy-Price’s work illustrates this idea of surface, as it reflects “both our interior and exterior perception of ourselves and others dictate how we exist in the world.” Among those in the printmaking world, Murphy-Price is a very well-known figure.

“Althea Murphy-Price is one of those big printmaking names … so it was surreal to have her here at UD,”said senior printmaking student Molly McNab. “My printing experience with Althea was exceptional, and I enjoyed being able to learn about and participate in her process.”

Graduate and undergraduate students had the opportunity to meet with Murphy-Price one-on-one for a personal discussion about her work.

“Being able to talk with her one-on-one about her work and what she is achieving through printmaking was amazing,” McNab added.

Learning about how another artist creates their work inspires everyone present during the Matrix program. These artists bring in new perspectives and techniques to creating art, and printmaking students always look forward to the next Matrix artist.

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