(1965 - )
Karla Murray’s work can be categorized within genre of strict Photorealism although the intimacy she is able to achieve through her subject and convey to the viewer, creating a personal and emotional connection to the natural world, is often belied by her deft technical abilities.
Murray has always been an artist and like the migratory birds she depicts, her life and career have taken her to various locations; from Florida and Pennsylvania to Arizona, California and Colorado, she has participated in numerous fine art shows while placing pieces in private collections throughout the United States and abroad.
Murray’s early art influences emerged from interactions with notable artists in the Colorado Springs community, studying under both Charles Rocky and Floyd Tunson, regionally recognized painters from Manitou Springs. Even as a young student Murray’s artistic talent was recognized and cultivated, at the age of eight she attended the Bemis School of Fine Art (which had evolved from the prestigious Broadmoor Art Academy in the mid 1940′s when Boardman Robinson and Charles Fabian Carlson had been instructors). After a brief mid-career hiatus Murray has been consumed with her painting and exploring the interconnectedness and interdependency of nature, specifically as it relates to the avian world, and more recently the fundamental foundation of all life – water.
In 2011, Murray was featured in a group show at the Hayden Hays Art Gallery (now the Broadmoor Galleries) and subsequently was invited to join the gallery as a permanent showing artist; occasionally Murray will attend to the gallery as an associate, continuing to be inspired by her peers in the fine art community.
She states, “Because of my fascination with Kirby Sattler’s work and his interesting way of interpreting spiritual beliefs, I thought it would be intriguing to bring the soul of the animal to the attention of the viewer by use of the eyes, such as Sattler’s work has accomplished. Birds are fascinating creatures with their migrating patterns, social behaviors, adaptations, and the hundreds of varieties that can be found throughout all the bio-geographical regions of the world. They have been with us since the dinosaurs, and actually they are now considered by many ornithologists to be evolution of those dinosaurs that managed to survive the mass extinctions the earth has endured.”
Her avian paintings are designed to showcase the aesthetic beauty of the animal, but through the graphic depiction of the bird’s anatomy she also creates an emblematic, iconic appearance, as if it stands as the ambassador for its species. At the same time the composition is arranged in such a way as to obscure other nearby objects and allow the viewer to imagine the world as the bird might experience it. Partially due to Sattler’s influence, it’s important to Murray that direct eye to eye contact between the viewer and the subject matter exists, to create a spiritual connection between the two while furthering the concepts of interconnectedness and interdependency.
Her pursuit of the avian world started several years ago and continues today; with more than fifty paintings in the series, she is still exploring the subject. This latest group of work has been published in the now available hardbound portfolio book entitled, “Wings”. By working in a series Murray is able to investigate the subtle nuances of her subject and compositions while creating a deliberate and purposeful body of work that is more impactful and consequential.
Fresh from a recent trip to New Zealand, Murray has begun to expand her portfolio to encompass water as a subject. Through her exploration in a new series of pieces Murray hopes to gain a better understanding of the essential qualities and relationship of water as it relates to the natural world and our existence.
Murray’s work is recognized for its environmental conservation and contributions; through her interpretation of wildlife and their habitat, as it impacts our view of nature, our direct influence with it and our symbiotic relationship. She is an avid outdoor enthusiast who spends most weekends biking, hiking, or camping in the glorious Colorado Rocky Mountains. She currently resides in the Black Forest of Colorado with her husband Tom.