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Eileen Murray showcases exhibit at Art Gallery

Artwork by Eileen Murray, who has an exhibit at the Crowsnest Art Gallery from November 21 to December 19, offers a glimpse into her artistic journey. Submitted by Eileen Murray

Nicholas L. M. Allen

Nov 15, 2023

Her exhibition, set to be at the Crowsnest Art Gallery from November 21 to December 19, offers a glimpse into her artistic journey.

In a journey that began at the University of Lethbridge in 2003, Eileen Murray has evolved from envisioning a future in sculpture, to becoming a seasoned artist renowned for painting and ceramics. 

Her exhibition, set to be at the Crowsnest Art Gallery from November 21 to December 19, offers a glimpse into her artistic journey.

Raised in Blairmore, Murray’s roots run deep in the region. 

“My dad got on with the coal mines in 1971 and I stayed in the Pass until 1994. My sisters are still here, one in Coleman and the other in Hillcrest,” said Murray.

She spent the next 25 years farming and raising her family near Cassils and is now in Vulcan where her grandchildren attend elementary school. 

Reflecting on her early artistic pursuits, she shared, “I thought I would be a sculptor, but one of my early classes at the University was in painting, and I loved it!” After earning a Bachelor of Fine Art degree in painting and photography in 2005, Murray delved into a successful stint as a photographer before completing her master’s degree at the University of Saskatchewan in 2012, focusing on photography and painting.

Today, Murray’s artistic focus lies in painting, with forays into sculptural ceramic work. She explained how her work serves as an exploration into the dynamics of domestic spaces and poses questions about the nature of a home, delving into themes of history, memory, legacy and narrative. 

“My paintings and ceramics flirt with the line between fine art and decoration, using both trending and vintage colours, patterns, and objects that evoke the quotidian, the nostalgic, and the rituals held within domestic space,” said Murray.

With a fascination for representations of domestic life, Murray amplifies connections to material excess.

“Consumer culture sells the image of a home as a place of perfect harmony and family life where happy memories and boundless imagination are promised through the designer goods and curated spaces that evoke feelings of nostalgia, vintage simplicity, and nostalgic elegance,” explained Murray, “My paintings play with the unattainability of these states by moving between representation and abstraction, expressing oppositions such as beauty and ugliness; disruption and continuity; and finally, through the research of both contemporary and historical paintings.’

Murray reflected on the evolution of her work, emphasizing the representation of ideas and a commitment to her daily studio practice. Her inspiration draws from historical painters like Matisse and Bonnard, as well as travel, textiles and film.

The reception on November 25 at the Crowsnest Art Gallery, from 1 to 3 p.m., will provide attendees the opportunity to engage with Murray, ask questions, and explore the narratives behind her artwork. The exhibited paintings are available for sale, with details provided at the gallery. 

On the question of what she hopes viewers take away from her work, Murray expressed, “It’s very hard to predict how an artwork will be interpreted by viewers. My intention is for my work to be viewed in multiple ways and I would like to think that they will be seen at the very least as paintings worth spending some time with and worth looking at.”

Murray’s work is not confined to the Crowsnest Art Gallery; it can also be appreciated at The Whyte Museum in Banff, Lineham House Gallery in Okotoks, James Baird Gallery in St. John’s and The Prow in Halifax. Details are available on, and Her instagram is @emurrayart and her website is She also has an upcoming residency at the Pouch Cove Foundation in Newfoundland in August 2024.

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