Artist brings cartoon therapy and quirky quilts to campus

By Gabriel Lucich Managing Editor

Eva Mae King Arts and Culture Editor

 

New York native and prolific local artist Kim Murton draws on a wide variety of influences to craft the playful images in her work. If you’re a fan of ceramic, digital, textile or cartoon art, it’s likely you’ll find something interesting in her show.

Murton’s showing focuses on her latest work, “Modern Artifacts: Ceramics and Other Obsessions,” in the Alexander Gallery at the Niemeyer Center on the Oregon City campus through May 3.

One of the first things you’ll notice about Murton’s work is the cartoonish element that comes through in nearly all her creations. This influence started when she was very young. One of the first things she remembers that influenced her work was a CBS holiday cartoon advertisement from the 1960s.

“It was this classic thing that played every Christmas. The first time I saw it, I must have been about four. R.O. Blechman made that, and it really influenced my drawing style and everything. If you look him up and see his drawing style, it’s the same sensibility. I don’t know if I was born with it or picked it up from him at a young age,” said Murton.

Many artists tend toward the dramatic and emotional ends of the spectrum. Murton is no different, and has taken her anxieties and focused them into the art.

“Basically, I’m a catastrophic thinker. It was totally out of control when my kid was born because I was really worried about everything.”

Art became Murton’s therapy. The subject of this catharsis is Worry Girl, a character that she draws daily as a form of personal therapy in the Worry of the Day comic.

Her ceramics bring the same cartoonish sense of play and couple it with inspiration derived from native cultures. Animated faces stacked one atop another, evoking older artistic traditions from coastal tribes and South American shamanism, all blended with something unabashedly modern and American.

Artist Kim Murton in a crowd of people at her gallery, holding up one of her vases as if she's speaking about it.

Artist Kim Murton at her gallery in CCC’s Niemeyer Center, speaking about one of her pieces. Photo by Evan Tichenor

“I started with the coil pots,” Murton began. “My kiln is 25 inches deep. So the coil pots couldn’t be any bigger than that. On Instagram, over and over and over the algorithm kept giving me images of people that were printing on clay. I used to be a printmaker, I love printmaking, so I got really intrigued by that.”

To use this printmaking technique, Murton cut out shapes on newspaper and then put them on leather-hard (a stage of dryness) clay pots.

“I painted this piece white, and then I slapped on a little shape on the newspaper, and I took a roller and rolled it and then peeled it off,” she said of the process.

The framed pieces displayed in the show are from Murton’s worry of the day drawing practice which she posts to daily on Instagram.

“I do want to say that drawing every day has so many benefits. You have to make sure you don’t judge yourself at all. It’s really hard not to judge yourself, but allow yourself every day to do a really crappy drawing,” Murton said.

Kim Murton, “Modern Artifacts: Ceramics and Other Obsessions,” runs through May 3 in the Alexander Gallery. Her ceramics and other art are available through her website, www.kimmurton.com.

Eva King

Eva King is an editor and writer for The Clackamas Print. In her free time, she plays video games and enjoys theater.

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