Program Type: 
Brenna Murphy: Liquid Vehicle Transmitter
July 19, 2013 - September 08, 2013
Upstairs Galleries


Artworks shown on this page:

Brenna Murphy, opaltwins (detail), 100cm x 100cm, digital print, 2013. Courtesy of American Medium.

Brenna Murphy: Liquid Vehicle Transmitter
Jul 19 - Sep 8
Upstairs Galleries

Working in sculpture, game design, installation, performance, sound and the internet, Portland-based artist Brenna Murphy is interested in digital technology’s capacity to connect and expand human consciousness. For Murphy, digital tools act as an electronic prosthesis that deepens awareness and cognition, rather than as an alien entity outside human experience. The labyrinth is an ongoing theme in Murphy’s practice. Her installations, websites, and virtual environments are set up as a series of interlocking spaces that encourage wandering, displacement and discovery. Like the naturally occurring geometric forms referenced in her work, they organically branch out from each other as a dense array of unfolding structures. The title for her exhibition at YBCA, Liquid Vehicle Transmitter, alludes to the fluid property found in much of Murphy’s output.

For her new installation, emergent entity chant array, Murphy has designed a type of fractal involving self-similar patterns at varying scales. Constructed out of a precisely configured assemblage of 3D printed sculptures, LED lights, light boxes, and wood cut forms, the installation resembles a real life version of her complex and dizzying internet-based works. Like Murphy’s virtual video game environments, emergent entity chant array plays upon the visitor’s perception of both space and dimension, encouraging the exploration of elevated states of consciousness.

Deeply post-humanist in her approach, Murphy views her creative process as a form of meditation in which she seeks an intuitive, harmonious relation with the tools used to produce her work. Her intricate arrangement of forms focuses her own energy and that of the viewer, drawing them in. This sense of an attuned connection with an audience is also an active element in the art collectives of which she is a member, MSHR and Oregon Painting Society.

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  • Brenna Murphy: Liquid Vehicle Transmitter
    July 18, 2013 – September 7, 2013
    Upstairs Galleries
    $10; Student, Senior, Teacher $8; YBCA Member and YBCA:You FREE
  • Artist's Talk: Brenna Murphy
    Jul 20, 2013 1:00pm – 2:00pm
    Large Conference Room
    FREE with gallery admission

    Brenna Murphy will speak about the development of her work and practice.

  • Performances by MSHR, Waxy Tomb, and Rubber (() Cement
    Jul 21, 2013 7:00pm – 11:00pm
    The Lab, 2948 16th Street, San Francisco, CA 94103

    MSHR (Brenna Murphy and Birch Cooper) will do a special performance at The Lab in conjunction with the Brenna Murphy: Liquid Vehicle Transmitter exhibition on view at YBCA, Jul 19 - Sep 8. The performance will also feature two local experimental noise projects, Waxy Tomb and Rubber (() Cement.

    Co-presented by The Lab and YBCA.

  • E.S.P. TV Live Taping
    Aug 8, 2013 11:00am – 7:00pm
    Upstairs Galleries
    FREE with Gallery Admission

    E.S.P. TV Live Taping
    Hosted by Neil Martinson

    Performances by:
    Group Rhoda with guest dancer
    Waxy Tomb
    Madalyn Merkey
    Videos by Brenna Murphy and Takeshi Murata

    New York-based web and broadcast program E.S.P. TV will shoot an episode inside the installation of Brenna Murphy: Liquid Vehicle Transmitter. Bay Area musicians Group Rhoda, Waxy Tomb, and Madalyn Merkey will perform in response to Murphy's installation emergent entity chant array.

    E.S.P. TV's core mission is to preserve public broadcast, as well as showcase the ongoing use and ability of analog media in a digitally run world. The show utilizes a mobile analog television studio to present a nomadic showcase of experimental music, video art and performance. All episodes act as a live studio broadcast, a program on public access television, and a theatrical performance. The events are taped live in front of an audience with live green-screening, signal manipulation and video mixing. The edited show is aired on Manhattan Neighborhood Network public television every Tuesday night, then posted online at

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Artist Bio

Brenna Murphy (b. 1986) lives and works in Portland, OR. Past solo exhibitions include The Future Gallery, Berlin (2012); Gloria Maria Gallery, Milan (2012); and Kunstverein Dusseldorf, Dusseldorf (2013). Her work has been included in group exhibitions at the New American Art Union, Portland (2010); Tate Modern, London (2010); Philadelphia Art Museum (2011); Drawing Room, London (2012); Eyebeam, New York (2012); Family Business Gallery, New York (2012); 319 Scholes, New York (2012); and the Abrons Art Center, New York (2013). Murphy is also a member of two Portland-based art collectives: MSHR and Oregon Painting Society. She is a 2012-2013 Rhizome Commissions Recipient for the project Expanding Labyrinth.

YBCA's programs are made possible in part by:
Koret Foundation
National Endowment for the Arts

Yerba Buena Center for the Arts is grateful to the City of San Francisco for its ongoing support.