Throughout our history we have struggled with certain issues in America. Not all of them are unique to us. As I matured, I began to view our country not only through the eyes of an American woman but also through the world’s eyes. I started getting angrier with how this society has been set up and how it actually functions. It is an epic tale of lies and secrets. I search to uncover the truth. The problem of income inequality used to be associated with certain ethnic groups and demographics. Through two years of extensive research on this topic, this stretches way beyond any racial or ethnic line and we have become a class based society which has a direct result in the food you eat, the education you receive and the medical care that is provided to you. It also determines how you are treated during your normal day as well as your future.
When I was a child, I grew up thinking the “right” thing to do was go to college, get a job, work really hard and everything would be ok. I did all of those things and myself along with millions of others have realized things are not ok. Our system was designed to give the illusion of hope and a thought that you would become comfortable and do better than the prior generation. This is not the case, it never has been and our country was set up so that the wealthy keep getting wealthier, the middle class is deteriorated and the most vulnerable are enslaved into debt or working three or four jobs just to make it. We have come so very far in certain areas yet are chronically stuck in others. I decided to do this series as a 54 year old American woman, a mom and a female painter. I chose the title “Controversy,” because that is my favorite Prince song and when I look back, Prince was the one artist who really pushed boundaries without apology. He made us look deep to see the reality that existed within ourselves and the world around us with no judgement attached to his work.
There is no judgement attached to mine, I seek to reflect our society and people can interpret it as they wish. Each piece is titled after a different song and each work is responding to a specific issue. There will be five pieces when completed by the end of the year. The five themes I chose to respond to are; income inequality, the judgement behind who and how we love in America, the separation and hatred we deal with on a daily basis, the objectification of women that still exists, and gun violence. These were not easy topics to respond to and many of them I did not think about until a few years ago. In fact, on some of these issues I had radically different opinions until I started researching and looking at economic reports and reading stories of mothers who lost their children in mass shootings. I began to change and to realize that not everyone is replaceable or a statistic. This country is not about “us” and “them.” It is about we, because love it or hate it “we” are all in this together. I hope my work opens up the eyes of those who have been asleep way too long. I have hope for this country and I know we are better than this. We must become the change. Life informs art, not the other way around. I am hoping to exhibit this work sometime next year in my one and only town, Chicago. You can see other works at https://deborahmurphyfineart.com, https://www.instagram.com/deborahmurphyfineart/