Lauri Lynnxe Murphy's Nest/Shed opens Friday at Mai Wyn Fine Art

Keep Westword Free
I Support
  • Local
  • Community
  • Journalism
  • logo

Support the independent voice of Denver and help keep the future of Westword free.

It's not far off the mark to call artist Lauri Lynnxe Murphy a force of nature, as many of her recent works grow out of a symbiosis with the natural world. And that's what her new show, Nest/Shed, opening Friday at Mai Wyn Fine Art, is all about. Here's a sneak peek of some of the work, with text from her artist statement.

See also: Another 100 Colorado Creatives: Rian Kerrane

Of late, I find myself thinking of home. Not of a specific home, but more of the general notion of home: what is a home? What is my home? What does it mean to have a home, versus not having a home? Is a structure your home? A city? A state? A nation? And more broadly: what of the earth, our collective home?

As it grows ever more unable to support us due to human folly and carelessness, what will "home" come to mean? Each tree cut down to build a human home has already been a home, to hundreds of creatures...what is the legacy of home in materiality? And ultimately, isn't our skin our primary home, which we live within always as we place-make in the world?

Continue reading for more images from Nest/Shed.

Each year, the paperwasp queen abandons her home for the winter, leaving her children to die, and hibernates until spring. She chews wood pulp from trees and begins to form a comb, suspended from a branch, in which she deposits the first layer of eggs. Once hatched, they will continue to build the nest from layer after layer of chewed pulp, which forms paper.

The interior of the nest is filled with layers of comb, where eggs are laid and grow into new wasps. Unlike bees, however, the wasps don't harvest nectar and make honey for the winter, though they are pollinators and have an important role in the ecosystem and our food supply. To make these drawings, I deconstructed the work of the wasps, layering their paper onto human made paper, after their home had been left.

Continue reading for more images from Nest/Shed.

The wasps' paper is made by agitation and compression, similar to how felt is bonded together. I have used the industrial waste from circles cut into a layer of heavy felt, castoffs that would have become trash but in their warmth and heaviness still offer a sort of comfort. Similarly, the snakeskin is a cast-off layer, waste shed by the skin, it's outer "home" discarded as the wasps' nests are each year. Just as birds have constructed nests from shredded paper and plastic bags, will we be nesting in our own industrial waste at some point? As the oceans rise, will we be left with islands of floating trash on which to pitch our weary tents?

Nest/Skin opens with a reception from 5 to 9 p.m. Friday, March 21 and runs through April 26 at Mai Wyn Fine Art. Visit Mai Wyn online for details. Learn more about Lauri Lynnxe Murphy online, as well.

To keep up with the Froyd's eye view of arts and culture in Denver, "like" my fan page on Facebook.

Keep Westword Free... Since we started Westword, it has been defined as the free, independent voice of Denver, and we would like to keep it that way. Offering our readers free access to incisive coverage of local news, food and culture. Producing stories on everything from political scandals to the hottest new bands, with gutsy reporting, stylish writing, and staffers who've won everything from the Society of Professional Journalists' Sigma Delta Chi feature-writing award to the Casey Medal for Meritorious Journalism. But with local journalism's existence under siege and advertising revenue setbacks having a larger impact, it is important now more than ever for us to rally support behind funding our local journalism. You can help by participating in our "I Support" membership program, allowing us to keep covering Denver with no paywalls.

We use cookies to collect and analyze information on site performance and usage, and to enhance and customize content and advertisements. By clicking 'X' or continuing to use the site, you agree to allow cookies to be placed. To find out more, visit our cookies policy and our privacy policy.


Join the Westword community and help support independent local journalism in Denver.


Join the Westword community and help support independent local journalism in Denver.