Blue the warmest colour for Brid

Art: Portarlington-born artist shortlisted for national award

Blue the warmest colour for Brid

Laois artist Brid Murphy has been shortlisted for the Zurich Portrait Prize, a national competition that highlights the artistic talent evident across Ireland.

The aim of the Zurich Portrait Prize is to showcase and encourage interest in contemporary portraiture, and to raise the profile of the long-standing and constantly evolving National Portrait Collection at the National Gallery of Ireland.

This annual competition showcasing contemporary portraiture attracts entries from across the island of Ireland, and from Irish artists living abroad. This exhibition will feature a shortlist of portraits chosen by the 2019 judging panel.

The winner will receive a cash prize of €15,000, and a commission worth €5,000, to create a work for inclusion in the National Portrait Collection. There will also be two awards of €1,500 for highly commended works.

Bríd Murphy is a visual artist from Portarlington, Laois. She recently graduated from Limerick School of Art and Design with a BA in Sculpture and Combined Media. Her practice explores themes such as gender, anxiety and self-identity through a wide variety of media including video, drawing and performance. Her work has been exhibited in group shows, such as PeakShow and K-FEST. More recently she has shown work in the National Museum of Ireland, Castlebar and the National Museum of Ireland, Collins Barracks.

Her entry to the competition is Blue I, II, III, a 30-minute video triptych with sound.

“This triptych is concerned with the anxieties surrounding issues such as gender and self-identity,” Brid explains.

“The video portraits, referencing Renaissance frescos, feature bodies that do not conform to traditional gender binaries.

“The semi-nude figures are reminiscent of Michelangelo’s frescos in the Sistine Chapel, which were censored due to the Pope’s view that nudity was outrageous and shameful. Blue has always been perceived as a ‘gendered’ colour. Since the twelfth century, blue, a precious pigment often derived from lapis lazuli, was associated with divinity and femininity.

“This is in contrast to the twentieth-century notion that ‘blue is for boys’.”