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Art Gallery exhibit, events to explore the ebb and flow of artist's creative process

  • Painting by Herbert Murrie titled Franklin and Eleanor

Posted on January 11, 2018

For more than 40 years, Herbert Murrie found success in his career in advertising and design. Inspired by an artistic upbringing and personal motivation, Murrie often worked in his art studio to pursue a more spontaneous and freeing expression of creativity, regularly returning to complete unfinished work.

A new Art Gallery exhibition at Grand Valley will examine the ebb and flow of Murrie’s creative process while reflecting back on his painting career and looking forward to a new body of his work.

“Ebb & Flow: Explorations in Painting by Herbert Murrie” will include 26 pieces that span his career as a painter from 1995 to the present, including newer works. The exhibit will feature artwork from both private collections and Grand Valley’s permanent art collection, which includes 16 works that were donated by Murrie and his wife, Lisa Murrie, in 2015.

"What I appreciate most about Herb's paintings is the fluidity," said Joel Zwart, curator of exhibitions at Grand Valley. "Each piece moves your eye across the canvas, despite the chaos of shape, forms and color. He has a real talent for creating compositions that engage and uplift."

An opening reception for the exhibit will take place January 18, from 5-7 p.m., in the Art Gallery (room 1121), located in the Thomas J. and Marcia J. Haas Center for Performing Arts. The exhibit will be on display January 15 through March 30.

During the reception, guests will have the opportunity to create their own paintings in a 3-D virtual reality experience using Tilt Brush by Google and an HTC VIVE. Staff from Grand Valley's Atomic Object Technological Showcase will be onsite guiding guests through the technology.

Murrie, born and raised in Chicaco and currently living in the Highland Park suburb, began painting seriously and exhibiting his work in 1988. By the late 1990s, he was showcasing his art regularly. Since then, he has showcased his work in numerous galleries in Italy and around the U.S., including Chicago, Boston, and Austin, Texas.

He continued to do so over the course of the next 15 years, but his roots in painting date back to the age of nine when Murrie was accepted into an adult-only art class taught by a friend of his father's.

"She gave me a two-week trial and three years later, I left her to start studying at the Chicago Academy of Fine Art and never looked back," said Murrie.

To dive deeper into the creative processes and varying styles of artistic minds, Murrie will join multiple Grand Valley faculty from the Department of Visual and Media Arts for a panel discussion. During the “Explorations in Painting Discussion Panel” event occurring February 28 at 11 a.m. in the Art Gallery, panelists will discuss the influences and inspirations behind their work along with other topics.

Panelists will include Murrie; Melanie Daniel, the Stuart B. and Barbara H. Padnos Distinguished Artist-in-Residence; Jill Eggers, associate professor of painting and foundations; Virginia Jenkins, professor of drawing and foundations; and Sarah Weber, visiting professor of drawing and foundations.

Music will meet art in conjunction with the “Ebb & Flow” exhibit when Grand Valley students create one-minute compositions inspired by Murrie’s artwork for the annual New Music Ensemble Composition Competition. The compositions will be performed by the award-winning New Music Ensemble in rapid succession and judged by a guest panel and the listening audience for various prizes.

The competition will take place March 1 at 7:30 p.m. in the Art Gallery.

For more information about “Ebb & Flow” and other current and upcoming exhibitions, visit