For the 2015 all-parish art show, the Murphey Gallery Committee decided to delay by one month our exhibition calendar to allow more of the “flock” to return from summer escapes. We wanted the viewing audience to grow, as well, to afford our own artists the opportunity to show their recent works.
Let us take a minute to review the Gallery’s history. There is a basis for the special relationship of our church architecture to the arts. For centuries, art and Church were highly integrated expressions for worship —the Bible was often read through pictures, not text. The gallery’s namesake, the Murphey family, commissioned Tucson architect Josias Joesler to design St. Philip’s in gratitude for his crucial role in building prototypical housing models on what newspaper articles deemed unbuildable land. Some critics unkindly classified Joesler as eclectic. Still, consider today that St. Philip’s and its grounds provides us with facilities of ritual, dignity, connection to nature, scale, and adequacy. Most of the arts — ecclesiastical, musical, visual — are fused into a single composition that supports our community. We can walk by these, Sunday after Sunday, be moved by a choir hymn or the sight of a hummingbird at the window above the altar with the Santa Catalina Mountains behind. That is art.
About the Art Gallery Committee’s mission. Do you wonder at how the highly scheduled Murphey Gallery suddenly sprouts such a wonderful array of works in one day? We hang art the old-fashioned way — we have the Committee do it. There are now eight one-month gallery exhibits, October through May, avoiding the languish of summer. The gallery has good lighting for three walls of art. The dividers allow great flexibility in multiple scheduling, with restrictions that constrain arrangements, such as doors and pathways to be kept clear and no art hung below four feet from the floor. We cannot support, yet, free-standing sculpture. Seven of the shows are reviewed and scheduled by the committee from a wide range of artist and groups. We encourage diversity, opportunity for emerging artists, and inclusiveness. Jury selection is being discussed for at least one show, because this benefits artists, aggregating variety and gallery reputation. Each of these seven shows is hung by that group, with the Committee facilitating and checking constraints.
Our own St Philip’s artists fill the gallery the first month of the exhibits, now October. For all too human of reasons, the Committee hangs this show. The challenge is fun to consider. Try as we do for early commitments to gauge the picture density, the morning we hang the work is rather stressful. Too few or too many? Should we arrange by color, subject matter, media, artist, or randomly? Just when two walls are comfortably filled, someone with car trouble arrives with four more large pieces. Oh, my. This sounds like a complaint. The universal truths about a galleries are — there is never enough wall space and no one builds enough back of house. The skills and sensitivity of the Committee is our back story.
So with this cheerful telling, look again at this art for October 2015 in Murphey Gallery. You will never see this art again; that is one of the rules. That is, unless you purchase. These are bargains. A percentage goes to St. Philips.
Weaving and Fiber Arts
Mary Gamache, Kathy Pease, Canon Frank Clark (at Artists’ Reception), Julie Gibson, Cynthia Goldberg (construct)
Pine Needle Basketry
Yvonne Creanga (at Artists’ Reception)
Rhoda Schroeder, Suzanne Kane, Helen Both, Warren Edminster, Tony Schnarsky, Travis Walsh
Pen and Colored Pencil
Kurt Anderson, Mary Norman, Jeanne Porter, Lisa Britton