Atlanta visual artist Tracy Murrell uses silhouettes as entry points to more complex conversations about gender, race, and how beauty is perceived. An exhibition of her work in paper, Wayna: Her Dreams of Ethiopia, opens Sept 1 and continues through Jan 7, 2023 in the East Gallery of the Albany Museum of Art.
For the exhibition, Murrell is combining her love for creating papercut Ethiopian crosses with childhood stories from her cousin Wayna, a Grammy-nominated singer, actress, and writer who was born in Ethiopia and raised in the Washington, D.C., suburbs.
“The significance of crosses as a unifying force, not only in Ethiopia, but worldwide frames the works that I have created,” Murrell said. “My work is a celebration of the beauty and grace that I see in the female form,” she said. “My intent is for the viewer to slow down, take their time, and find their connection to the portraits before them. Often the reflective surfaces of the work invite the viewer to see themselves in the silhouettes.”
In her current work, Murrell said, she is “focusing on the themes of identity, migration, and displacement in the human narrative by collaging hand-cut patterns, encaustic, specialty papers with the silhouettes, then finishing with resin.”
Murrell has exhibited in numerous exhibitions and her work has been featured in Create!, ArtVoices, Studio Visit, New American Paintings, and Atlanta Home magazine. Georgia Tech University recently unveiled two of her paintings commissioned by the AKA Sorority for its library, and Microsoft recently acquired six of her works for its new office in Atlanta.
She has been awarded residencies at The Hambidge Center, Atlanta Printmakers Studio, Atlanta Contemporary Art Center, and Green Olive Arts in Tetouan, Morocco. Brown University’s Center for the Study of Race and Ethnicity in America (CSREA) awarded her a Practitioner Fellowship for Spring 2022.