Gwynn Murrill’s first solo show was at Rico Mizuno’s Los Angeles gallery in 1972. Since that first exhibition, her process has continually evolved. Gwynn’s initial pieces, sculpted from found wood, which she had laminated into large blocks, gave way to stone and marble carvings in the early 1980’s. By 1990, Gwynn was casting most of her pieces in bronze. She has presented over 36 solo shows and has been involved in more than 50 group exhibitions. In December 2005, Gwynn unveiled her large, open-air, installation: ‘Cougar Pond’ a fountain piece, which combines sculpture with architectural elements.
Gwynn is drawn to animal forms due to their complex beauty. She says:
“My interest lies in the fact that I use the subject as a means to create a form that is abstract and figurative at the same time. It is a challenge to try and take the form that nature makes so well and to derive my own interpretation of it.
I spend many hours perfecting a piece with the goal to utilize all of the negative space surrounding the form as a vehicle for the abstract part of the sculpture. The negative space is as important to my sculpture as the positive space, evoking somewhat of a Yin and Yang relationship.
Many of the animals I work with are also a part of our life here in California, and I truly enjoy expressing my appreciation of their existence.”
Over her career, Gwynn has received many accolades: the Guggenheim Fellowship, a Prix di Roma Fellowship from the American Academy in Rome, and a purchase award from the Los Angeles County Museum of Art.
Gwynn’s work is held by many private collections and can been seen in number of public commissions throughout the U.S. and across the globe. The American Embassy in Singapore displays one of her Eagles, as does the Target Corporation Headquarters in Minneapolis. The City of Obihiro, Japan installed seven of Gwynn’s Deer along its main thoroughfares in 2003, and Los Angeles’ Grand Hope Park is home to a collection of three coyotes, a hawk, and one snake.
In September 2006, Gwynn will be unveiling recently completed work at Joan Washburn Gallery in New York City. This solo exhibition, her first in five years at the New York gallery, will consist of four new, bronze ‘Big Sitting Cats’, the aforementioned ‘Cougar Pond’, and a wall-mounted Flying Eagle sculpture.
Also in September, Gwynn is scheduled to show her five Tigers, as part of the national group exhibition, Going Ape! Confronting Animals in Contemporary Art at the DeCordova Museum and Sculpture Park in Lincoln, Massachusetts. This will be the first showing of the full set of Tigers on the east coast, and only the second since their debut exhibition at L. A. Louver Gallery in 2003.
Gwynn is also currently working through a number of southern California public art projects. Her ‘Fountain’ for the West L. A. Animal Shelter is due for completion Winter 2007, and she has just begun an extensive sculpture and relief commission with a private developer, for a highly visible location in Pasadena, CA.