Windows To The Virtual/Reality:
Brenna Murphy’s “skyface~TerraceDomain”

October 14, 2014 | Marina Galperina

“I’m interested in expanding my ability to ‘see’ the composition of reality,” Brenna Murphy tells ANIMAL. “I think ‘reality’ includes physical and virtual space, and the two are totally intertwined.”

Murphy’s “skyface~TerraceDomain” opens at Brooklyn’s American Medium gallery on October 16th, and unlike her previous solo exhibitions that focused on a physical sculptural installation, this one is different. “With this show,” she says, “I’m interested in presenting windows into virtual worlds.”

We’ve always loved her sculptures — complex and iridescent labyrinths and glyphs that recall ancient symbology and futuristic states of being — both as installations and as playable instruments in her collaborative project, MSHR, with Birch Cooper, but also in manifested through her multi-disciplinary practice.

The upcoming show will include prints (“photographs” of 3D-rendered scapes) and physical sculptures, intricate products of computer-aided fabrication that simultaneously exist in her virtual worlds, made navigable with video game development software. (The artist has previously worked in this territory by creating spaces you can download and explore.)

domainterraceBrenna Murphy, Domain Terrace Extendr, digital image, 2014, Courtesy American Medium

“Building virtual realities and building sculptural installations are very parallel endeavors,” Murphy says. “Building worlds is a form of meditation for me. Its a way of processing my impressions of reality and feeling out the shape of my mental framework. Engaging in this meditative-building/arranging activity both physically and virtually strengthens my approach to both realms and the pathways between.”

glyphgarlandBrenna Murphy, Glyph Garland, sculptural installation (detail), 2014, courtesy Upfor

“Virtual reality is amazing because it’s like a portrait of the human mind,” she goes on. “It shows in a really raw way how we think reality is composed. Objects wrapped in textures, placed in space. Then coming back to physical reality, walking around the streets, I can’t help but think in terms of virtual space: over there, a ‘tree’ form, wrapped in ‘bark’ and ‘leaf’ textures, juxtaposed with a rectangular slab wrapped in ‘dirty cement’ texture. Spending mental time in these VR-IRL domain cross-sections keeps reality fluid.”

Coming from the place where code creates shapes, light patterns create sound and every plane is connected, where she goes, we’re glad to follow.

Read more about Brenna Murphy’s process in her Artist’s Notebook. “skyface~TerraceDomain,” Brenna Murphy, Oct 16 – Nov 16, American Medium, Brooklyn, Opening Reception: Oct 16, 6pm-9pm. (Lead Image Brenna Murphy, opal resonancy valley, 2014, digital archival print, courtesy American Medium)