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Meg Lionel Murphy

A giant among giants, she paints to heal

Beyond her role as editor-in-chief of literary arts magazine Paper Darts and Art + Story Director of Pollen, a nonprofit dedicated to enacting social change via storytelling, Meg Lionel Murphy is an extraordinarily talented painter. Her first solo show, Interior Violence, opened at CO Exhibitions in Northeast Minneapolis in early February, and grapples with the topic of domestic abuse.

Murphy’s matte gouache works range in size from a petite 3” x 4” to a stunning 50” x 85”. With each painting, she conjures “a far away realm, in the not so very distant future, where womxn with traumatic pasts magically grow into giants.” ⁣

Though her works are intentionally fantastical, she captures that very real moment when “victims gather enough strength to grow through, if not beyond, the horror of their pasts.” The objects in her paintings are modeled after dollhouse furniture — “underscoring the loss of girlhood, and the dreams children hope for when ‘playing house.’”⁣

A victim of domestic violence herself, Murphy produced this series of radically triumphant paintings as part of a cognitive-processing therapy for PTSD typically used by combat veterans.⁣

“It would be easy to disregard my work as girlish and unserious,” she writes. “But the womxn in my paintings are fighting for their lives and minds. … If nothing else, the paintings will remind their viewers that they are not alone in their pain, and the attempt to heal is a hopeful, worthy endeavor.”⁣

Interior Violence is on display at CO Exhibitions through February 28, 2020. If you or someone you know is dealing with domestic abuse, please call the Day One Crisis Hotline (866-223-1111) or visit Violence Free Minnesota for more resources. You are not alone. 💜

Co Exhibitions
1101 NE Stinson Blvd., Minneapolis, MN; 612-379-4151.