Katherine Murphy investigates aspects of labour and the conditions under which specific acts of labour are carried out: from the uniformity of daily routines to the monotonous activities of factory or minimum wage workers.
Murphy’s oeuvre is physically and topically tough, yet formally stringent and visually appealing. Her works often possess a discreet and elegant beauty that clashes with the task she sets herself. In her ongoing series entitled Arkwright Work Tasks, Murphy employs the type-writer aesthetic of old-fashioned library cards in nostalgically fading colour tones, which the artist re-sorts for days and weeks according to ever changing categories.
Murphy’s oeuvre successfully merges the dry and politically charged subject of low wage labour with a minimal language without weakening the one or the other. Her message is revealed moderately yet powerfully – the contradictory “disguises” her works appear in develop even more punch in times of rising unemployment and changing work environments.