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News . Feature Stories . New video highlights Murphy's fine and applied art


March 31, 2014

New video highlights Murphy's fine and applied art

Photographer at NASA, is also contemporary artist, writer, educator and studio owner

Photographer, artist, educator and writer Michelle Murphy ’04 is the subject of a new video by Jeff Mancinetti ’09.

The story of her creative career tells itself but the challenge in making this latest CIA video was in keeping up with Murphy long enough to film her. By day, she works as a photographer at Cleveland’s NASA Glenn Research Center, a job she has had since graduation. By night and weekend, she is a fine art photographer with an active studio practice, a regular educator in CIA’s Continuing Education program, co-editor/curator of the online magazine, and most recently, the co-owner with husband Matt Smith of a studio/gallery with an associated artist residency program (

This video takes us onto the NASA campus, where Murphy photographs scientists and their high-tech equipment. It also takes us into her studio, where she explores ideas of beauty standards in her photographic artwork. Her “Perceptual Beauty” series of short videos and large-scale photographs includes extreme close-ups of eye makeup, reminiscent of the Op Art paintings of Julian Stanczak ’54; images of cosmetic materials exploding, melting, or smeared on a surface; and images that question gender identity, as in the photo of the man’s hairy hands with manicured, painted nails.

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