On Friday, Nov. 8 from 5 to 8 p.m., the Wagner College Gallery will host a reception to open artist Bill Murphy’s new exhibition, “The Ballad of Staten Island: Drawings, Paintings and Prints, 1971 to 2013.” The exhibition will be on display from Thursday, Nov. 7 through Friday, Jan. 10. The reception and the exhibition are free, and the public is invited.
The exhibit’s theme, the Staten Island landscape, is also its subject. Having been sold to private collectors or taken from the artist’s own collection, many of the images in “The Ballad of Staten Island” have never been on public display before.
“A curator of a local museum once told me that she had asked numerous visitors what the most notable things about Staten Island are,” Murphy wrote. “The answers were: the Ferry, the Mall, and the Fresh Kills dump — in that order. All three of these things show up in this exhibit, though you will have to squint a bit to find the Mall. But this is not a travelogue. It is my own version of what’s important here — or at least what’s important to me.”
Curating this exhibit was not an easy task, Murphy said.
“The space is not large, and I had about 90 pieces to choose from. I tried to make choices that would say something about my own artistic development as well as the nature of a place I have attempted to not only capture on a plate or drawing-pad, but — insofar as it’s possible — to understand,” he said.
One of the exhibit’s highlights is a 48 x 70” charcoal drawing, “From Silver Lake,” the image from which Murphy created an etching that is in the permanent collection of the Library of Congress, among others. This large work has never been publicly displayed before. It shows Victory Boulevard as it descends toward the Saint George section of Staten Island, with the “twin towers” of the old World Trade Center visible in the distance.
Besides the Library of Congress, Murphy has work in the permanent collections of the Brooklyn Museum, the British Museum, the Baseball Hall of Fame, the Staten Island Museum, the New-York Historical Society and many other public collections. He has exhibited in the Old Print Shop Gallery, the National Academy of Design, the National Arts Club and many other private and public galleries.
Bill Murphy has been a professor of visual art at Wagner College since 1994. More information about the artist can be found on his website.
This exhibit is made possible with funds from the Decentralization Program, a re-grant program of the New York State Council on the Arts supported by Governor Andrew Cuomo and the New York State Legislature and administered by Staten Island Arts.
The Wagner College Gallery is located in the Union building on the campus of Wagner College, 631 Howard Ave., in the Grymes Hill neighborhood of Staten Island. For a campus map, visit our website. The gallery is open Tuesday through Saturday from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m., with extended hours on Thursday until 7 p.m. The gallery is closed on Sunday and Monday, except for specially scheduled events. For more information, call the Wagner College Art Department at 718-390-3192, or email Bill Murphy (email@example.com).