ANCA Gallery November 2011
Detail from The Museum of Skin.
The poem Free
is from the book Six Hundred Dollars

Lizz Murphy talking about her installation series
(shown left and back) The Museum of Skin at ANCA Gallery 2011.
I have a visual arts past which is catching up. The promises to myself are: it will not displace writing, it will incorporate poetry, it will help to promote poetry.

I was part of a group exhibition titled Skin in late 2011. (I may have mentioned this before.)  Of course there was little time for writing; books were delayed; the poems I aimed to write for individual works were elusive.

It turned around. The new poems I wanted happened - albeit one after the exhibition was already open. (Thankfully an attachment rather than in the body of the work.) People took the time to read the poetry. (One visitor wrote: Best poetry in art in Canberra.) The poems fit a manuscript I have to finish early 2012. *I’ve since submitted the delayed 2011 manuscript (and the publisher has accepted it).

We four artists organized a full public program, which included a poetry reading in the gallery, by myself and invited poets. The open mike was more of a poets’ dialogue on the exhibition themes, with new and published poets participating. The combination of artworks, poetry readings and gallery space created the magic atmosphere that we know it can.

A selection of images from Skin can be found at my website. I hope to add more of my own work along with events pics.


The names of women I know listed:/to send her to service/Wages enslaved in trusts/never to emerge/Meagre pocket money paid/or not Indentures to the wealthy/defaulting into womanhood The balding truth/
No account taken/Free to good home

[Sorry - poem formatting is doing it's own thing!!]
*Shebird was published by PressPress in 2016. You can order it here.

SKIN at ANCA Gallery November 2011 - background

Through a series of mixed media installations Kelly de Olivera, Deborah Faeyrglenn, Cheryl Jobsz and Lizz Murphy explored Skin as body, identity, habitat and place, at ANCA Gallery, 1 Rosevear Place, Dickson ACT, November 9-13; 16-20, 2011. They are four artists investigating the various meanings and purposes of skin: the ways in which skin protects, divides, encloses, stretches, scars, patterns, peels and reveals. 

Kelly de Olivera used turtle shell patterns and shapes as skin in an installation of cast objects as a mapping device to connect self to place.

Deborah Faeyrglenn embedded text, image and small found objects into fabric, wax and wire to construct figurative skin habitats.

Cheryl Jobsz created children’s building blocks featuring small found objects, text and images from her daily walk as a metaphor for the changing skin of the suburban environment.

Lizz Murphy explored skin as the place a woman inhabits, through a series of large ‘necklaces’ created from fencing wire and other collected materials, mixed media and poetic text.

Special events included an opening address by eX de Medici, a Skin poetry reading by Canberra and NSW poets, an Artist Talk and two community events for ACT carers and a Belconnen community arts group.

A day in the life of:

What happened to that promise I made myself that IF I do any visual art it will not only be art and text (poetry) but also very ephemeral, very small, very do-able ... There I am standing in the elements during the swift change from spring back to winter rugged up in beanies and work gloves dragging reels of barbed wire around pliars for this wire cutters for that scratching head over whether to wire twist, glue gun, No Nail, solder. Note to self: buy soldering thingy. The wire reminds me of first discovering Giacometti and many years later seeing the exhibition of his work at the Art Gallery NSW. I'd gone off him after reading about his domestic violence - but the work stands. It was thrilling to see the actual work. There was a very cranky or strict security person who caused more of a disturbance with his lecturing than the exuberant school students he was berating. I have writing from then - haven't turned into poems yet. Yet ...

A day in the life of:
An Assemblage of Possibilities …
Grey fantails in the lemon bottlebrush; what I think must be red-browed finches in and about the wattle and banksia (a Supreme Blue Wren appears large); magpies on the tips of bare branches (keep the dead trees); a blackbird in leaf litter; crimson rosellas in the acacias and old pines, a red-wattle bird raiding red gum blossoms. An olive sheen in the Melaleuca - a Silvereye looks over its shoulder at me (solid wing noise for such a tiny bird). Finally I am taking my pieces for the Skin exhibition from the page to the making. I’ve rediscovered the fun of scouring tips and paddocks and beg-borrow-stealing for ‘found materials’.  The feel of the materials. The textures. Projects and proposals merge more and more. Studies of birds for a proposed collection feed into this series of works, poems I need for the artwork may support the poetry collection, a closer look at Irish linen links to these and another project moored for some time (helped along by recent visit to Ireland). I just need to get on with it.