Tim Murdoch is an artist whose works range from monumental hand-carved wood and plastic sculpture to site specific and kinetic installations. He graduated from Montserrat College of Art in 1989 and received his MFA from Massachusetts College of Art and Design in 2003. His work has been shown at galleries and alternative spaces in Boston, New York and in Europe. Tim has received a Visual Arts Sea Grant from the University of Rhode Island, a Floating Art Grant from the Fort Point Artists Community, a Blanche Colman Award, and in 2011 was a Massachusetts Cultural Council Fellowship finalist. His public art commissions include two for the Massachusetts College of Art and Design- a 24 ft. hand-carved plastic hanging sculptural installation for the college’s new campus center, and a 25 ft. kinetic wall piece for the Spoon Cafe in the college’s new dormitory. His most recent commission in 2012 is a group of hand-carved and welded plastic sculptures for the Constellation Center in Kendall Square, Cambridge, Massachusetts. In 2012, after twenty years living in Boston, Tim moved to San Diego California where he is concentrating on the development of new works.
I’m interested both in stretching the capability of inherent material properties and in reclaiming natural, organic form from re-purposed utilitarian objects including wood, recycled plastics and electronics. My sculptures and installations show evidence of painstaking, meditative, hand-carved process’s through which they’re made, yet often contain an element of unexpected humor, like a Seussian stripe pattern or a mechanical finger. I try to push the limits of materials, but also the limits for interface with those materials. I’ve created sculptures that transform a viewer’s expectation of space, utilized public store-fronts to confront the general passerby with psychological questions, and harnessed the power of the ocean’s tides to fuel a kinetic installation.
It’s this combination of materiality with the experiment of human-object reaction and interaction that pique my interest in public art- a human, relatable experience. The work is that of a controlled yet mutable landscape between object and viewer, coupled with the intense underlying question of what separates self from other. Through the use of repurposed, hand-worked materials, sprinkled with a touch of humor, my work exists as transformations, investigations and aesthetic public environments.
Recently my installation Emerge, responds to a specific site. The tree and sprout-like forms, hand-excavated and carved from cast off polyethylene natural gas pipes signify the growth that’s to come from the building of a new performing arts center. A new permanent piece for Mass Art, Reflex, consists of an 18 foot tall by 25 foot wide wall of interconnected spring-mounted mirrors. Interactive in nature, the piece is activated by the public sitting on benches in the café in which it’s installed, thereby sending signals to dozens of “reflex” hammers, the sort with which a doctors checks a patient’s knee, mounted behind the mirrors. The hammers strike the mirrors’ springs and a cascade of ripples reverberate through the wall of mirrors – a watery, luminescent shimmer in which the viewer’s reflections are also then skewed and obscured.