Chloe Murr’s work maps a bodily reaction to space by merging physical, spatial, and psychological experiences into visual form. She grew up in South East London, moved to California at the age of sixteen and is currently based in Santa Cruz completing dual Bachelor's degrees in History of Art and Visual Culture and Studio Art. At UC Santa Cruz, Murr focussed her artistic studies in fine art printmaking, specifically intaglio and serigraphy. For Murr, printmaking bridges industry and fine art, resulting in a labor rooted in repetition and reproduction, producing items that are accessible and expendable. This standpoint has led her to experiment with combinations of traditional printmaking and new media, installations and other site specific projects.
Displacement means more than the condition of moving someone from their original position, it induces a state of frustration at losing the experiences and memories connected to a now unfamiliar place. For me, London was a constant and familiar place, but after moving from England to California, lost relationships and urban development severed my ties with my home. Drifting between countries, stability evades me, and I am frustrated by a constant sense of placelessness.
As more people across the world share a sense of deracination, there is an urgent need to map instability and psychological experiences associated with place. These maps capture the experiences of migration, connection, movement, and home.
The printmaking process produces an awareness of the body. The repetitive motions of printmaking echo patterns of migration across countries and cultures. Prints, which exist in a public dimension are subject to changing environments as are displaced humans. Immigration and changing urbanism alter the ways people comprehend a space. Printmaking can intervene in those spaces and interact with everyday systems as our bodies do. My work connects the movements of printmaking to infrastructure, mapping a bodily reaction to space by merging physical, spatial, and psychological experiences into visual form. Body movement fuses with the structural integrity of a site, challenging viewers to navigate and understand contemporary conditions of space and place.
Shifting away from my traditional practice as a result of the global pandemic has forced my body into an accelerated stage of acclimation and I find myself once again in a place of solitude and disconnect. My body is adapting to new movements, mediating collective experiences of distance and isolation with the desire for intimacy.
Exhale (2020), Mixed media installation
Exhaling requires an inhale and sometimes it is all you can do. Exhaling is an act of release, an act of letting go, when everything seems uncertain. The ability to breathe feels like a resource that I am trying to protect and preserve. Normally breathing is an instinct, but now it is conscious, monitored, and inexorable.
Crisis has materialized distance and barriers, altering the ways we move and interact with space. The walls separating us create liminal spaces, pushing us physically closer while we paradoxically retreat further away. I want to draw back the curtains, to walk unknowingly towards an uncertain future. What becomes of intimacy when you must hold those dear to you at a distance? I’m all closed up, feeling fragile and vulnerable. But these walls are permeable, they are my windows and my lungs. Everything is day by day, all l can do is breathe.
Visit the Irwin 2020: Collective Solitude exhibition in the 3D virtual gallery.
The 2020 Irwin Scholars are
Aarón Martínez, Anastasia Oleson, Angel Gonzales, Chloe Murr, Dominic Ramirez, Edgar Cruz, Emma McWaid, Jocelyn Lee, Joshua Zupan, Morgan Tomfohr, Natalie Del Castillo, Rodrigo Ramos, Veriche Blackwell