Althea Murphy-Price

Knoxville, TN

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I use synthetic hair, to consider its function as an embellishment and as a signifier of cultural identity. This hair plays as significant role within African-American culture.  It is symbolic of  expression, assimilation, and individuality. But the preoccupation of how we see ourselves and how others perceive us is universal, crossing ethnic, gender and, sociological boundaries.

Using alternative approaches to the traditions of drawing and printmaking, I work to achieve a sense of materiality that is illusory in its sensitive linear complexity.  I want to question the truth or fiction of my materials by mimicking their realistic appearance or revealing their synthetic nature.

The roles of beauty in society, as well as the human impulse to beautify, are concepts that fascinate me.  My studio practice is an exploration of deception and attraction, and the ways in which the quest for beauty’s seductive appeal promotes conformity.  In the effort to achieve an idealized appearance, unique beauty sometimes sacrifices its allure to standardization and enhancement becomes mere decoration.