Kelly Sheppard Murray is a Raleigh, North Carolina artist, educator, and designer with BFA, and MFA degrees from UNCG and ECU respectively. Murray’s career as an artist has emphasized three-dimensional design and fabrication for nature, health, science, and history museums, although her personal practice includes a wide array of media and processes.
While maintaining a professional practice in design and fine arts, Murray teaches 2D & 3D design, painting, sculpture, and art appreciation at Wake Technical Community College. In 2014, Murray was awarded faculty rank as Associate Professor at Wake Technical Community College
Murray is a 2018 recipient of the International Encaustic Artists Emerging Artist Grant. Other recognitions include being selected as a 2016 the Artspace Regional Emerging Artist in Residence, as well as a 2000 and 2012 recipient of Regional Artist Project Grant by the United Arts of Raleigh and Wake County. She now maintains a tenant studio at Artspace in order to be able to continue sharing work and having a conversation with the public.
Recent exhibitions include a solo exhibition Kelly Sheppard Murray: Sculptures at Wilma Daniels Gallery, Wilmington, NC; Knoxville Tennessee’s Dogwood Arts 2018 Regional Arts Exhibition, Raleigh Fine Arts Society’s 2018 North Carolina Artists Exhibition, Artspace’s 30th Anniversary Retrospective Juried Exhibition.
Guided by the idea that consistent small actions create significant impact, I create small sculptures to allow my own daily actions to grow the body of work over time. This process of creating over a year or months is meant to also tie to the notion that our small actions affect the world beyond us. I encase, cover, stitch or layer found, industrial, cast-off or surplus materials to create objects or images that are not easily identified as natural or man-made. The pieces are made in a somewhat without plan or design but instead rely on a tactile knowledge and personal vocabulary built over a lifetime. I don’t plan these pieces but respond intuitively to materials and the forms. This process provides me the opportunity to discover something that I may not have otherwise imagined.
In our slick, digitally saturated lives, I believe we need to be reminded of the living breathing tactile world that surrounds us. My color choices are may be connected to nature while the forms remain ambiguous and non-specific but hold a hint of familiarity.
I draw from the shapes of plants, moss, lichen, fungi, geological forms, and seashells. Because I am interested in how human behavior alters natural or man-made forms and spaces, I often place the irregular nature-inspired shapes in relation to grids, geometric structures, and repetitive patterns to try to consider the relationship between contrasting and sometimes conflicting forces. Combining and considering the similarities or differences in these shapes and forms allows me to deal with the intertwined relationship of human activity with nature.