Reception: Friday, May 13 from 7pm to 10pm
Target Gallery, the contemporary exhibition space for Torpedo Factory Art Center, presents its annual competitive solo exhibition. This year spotlights the work of Washington D.C. native, Blu Murphy in LE DRIP: The Uncontainable Sauce of Black Essence. Her mixed-media photographic portraits are a tribute to her black community. The exhibition will be on view through July 17, 2022. Target Gallery is located in Studio 2 at the Art Center (105 N. Union St.).
This exhibition was created to challenge the viewer to think about the following questions: 1) What do you qualify as art? 2) What do you view as valuable?
Murphy’s LE DRIP series features works encased in vibrantly colored upcycled frames. Her portraits are of elementary and middle school students who attend a Title I school in D.C. where she is an arts educator. She carefully and strategically collaged the statement “I Am Art” along with hand-painted layers, graffiti, and images to represent different aspects of black narratives. They offer the viewer an opportunity to challenge their perspectives and see a subset of individuals who are often unseen or overlooked as valuable masterpieces.
“Dripping paint travels from the portrait to the frame and onto the gallery wall representing the uncontainable and undeniable sauce of the black essence,” said Murphy. “The ingredients of ‘the sauce’ are rich and include: our combined pain, triumphs, joys, strength, and swag.”
Target Gallery’s white, industrial walls become a backdrop representing urban communities. In among the portraits steeped in symbolism, shoes hang from a wire near the ceiling. In urban communities, this symbolizes remembrance, honoring those who are no longer with us.
Murphy was selected from more than 60 applicants based in the D.C., Maryland, Virginia region as part of Target Gallery’s annual Open Call for a Solo Exhibition. The jurors were Maps Glover, DC-based artist; Heather Hakimzadeh, curator at Virginia Museum of Contemporary Art; and Thomas James, Baltimore-based independent curator.
According to Glover, “Blu’s approach to addressing the complex history, depicted through collage is subtle and clear. As the center figures are towering above that challenging history. I’m moved by the work Blu is creating and look forward seeing how the works will continue to break down barriers and shine light.”
“She works with students who, according to the artist, come from communities that are not always valued as they should be. Beautiful young people who deserve attention and respect. As Murphy photographs them, the artist forces the viewer to see their beauty. Their intricate braids and hairstyles suggest crowns and pays loving homage to their culture,” said Hakimzadeh.
“Murphy’s work stood out to us because of her multi-media approach to sharing her culture, the quality and consistency of her work, as well as her ideas to further push her concept with a site-specific installation. Using photography, found frames, and elements of street art, her work stands out as a narrative full of complexities, joy, and nuance,” said James.
LE DRIP: The Uncontainable Sauce of Black Essence, runs through Sunday, July 17, 2022. There will be an artist talk and reception Friday, May 10, at 7 p.m., as a part of Torpedo Factory Art Center’s Late Shift: Art & Technology event.
Target Gallery is currently open to the public from Wednesday – Sunday, 10 a.m. – 6 p.m.. Starting Monday, May 30, the Torpedo Factory Art Center and Target Gallery will open daily. Visit torpedofactory.org/hours to confirm the daily schedule before visiting. Private press viewings may be arranged upon appointment.
About the Artist
Brandy “Blu” Murphy (she/her), is a Washington, D. C. based artist is known for capturing the strength of her subjects through photography and utilizing graffiti, texture, and color to tell the story of disenfranchised African Americans who are often unheard and unseen and showcasing them as works of art.
About Target Gallery
Target Gallery is the contemporary exhibition space for Torpedo Factory Art Center. The gallery promotes high standards of art by continuously exploring new ideas through a variety of visual media in a rotating schedule of exhibitions. More information is available via torpedofactory.org/target. follow Target Gallery on Twitter, Facebook, Instagram and Pinterest via @targetgallery.
About the Torpedo Factory Art Center
Founded in 1974 in a former navy munitions plant, the Torpedo Factory Art Center is home to the nation’s largest number of publicly accessible working artist studios under one roof. The Art Center is part of the Office of the Arts. Just south of Washington, D.C., the Torpedo Factory Art Center overlooks the Potomac River in the Old-Town section of Alexandria, Virginia. Each year, more than a half million national and international visitors meet and interact with more than 165 resident artists in 82 studios and seven galleries. The Torpedo Factory Art Center is also home to The Art League headquarters and gallery, and the Alexandria Archaeology Museum. For more information, visit torpedofactory.org or follow the Torpedo Factory on Twitter, Facebook, Instagram and Pinterest via @torpedofactory.