Gina Murtagh
The Art of Housekeeping, 1994

7.5 in H x 7.5 in W
Catalogue Number
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About the Artist

Gina Murtagh

CitizenshipUnited States
Cultural HeritageEuropean-American
Light Work RelationshipEmployee/Associate, 1988 – 1992 (Assistant Director)
Light Work Grant, 1996
Light Work PublicationsContact Sheet 89


In the series Inside Out, the Art of Housework, Gina Murtagh investigates the maintenance of the personal space. In this series Murtagh photographs a number of common household objects including used coffee filters, old bars of soap, linoleum tile fragments, and broken vases which become almost abstract when they are taken out of the home and into the photographer's studio. In Murtagh's artist statement she writes, 'The large black and white photographs are of artifacts related to my personal history of housework and the intersection of the social institutions of my childhood; school, the Catholic church and family.' Murtagh examines her own experiences with housework on a macroscopic level by photographing these objects and then presenting them larger than life. In a series of books created by the artist, Murtagh photographed and interviewed a number of other women artists engaged in the activity of housework. The candid photographs of someone sorting laundry or sweeping the floor, juxtaposed with excerpts from the interview text, reveal many common denominators shared by all regarding housework. Together these two components of the series Inside Out look at individual rituals of housework, but also address larger issues of socialization, the myth of 'women's work', and the seemingly endless task of keeping one's space in order.

Gina Murtagh received a Light Work Photographers Grant in 1996.

Gary Hesse (c)1996