K.S. Ernst and Sheila E. Murphy





The Ernst-Murphy Collaborative

“The only rule is that there are no rules.” Thus began our agreement to spree, and when we look back upon a few years of collaborating, the yield seems as varied as the processes we employed. The collaborative started with a sequence of highly elaborate, “multi-round” endeavors , building layer upon layer of visio-textual art now visible as the “Repealed Mosaic” included in this issue of Word for Word. Collaborators built a text in multiple, emailed rounds, until we had what we believed would be a verbal foundation from which to build outward. “Repealed Mosaic” was liberated into being by the use of text made available, then leapt up to a range of colorations that encompassed shapes, drawing, ranges of clarity and opacity as seemed right during the construction process. Each new operation seemed to spawn more opportunities within the layers themselves as well as not-yet-discovered ones. The series itself resulted from our needing even more space to work out what was showing through the various iterations of what became the series.

“Digest Sumatra” and “Not or ie ty” made use of different modes, tools, instincts, and blending. We used colored markers and text together, in an effort to chance the juxtaposition of entities until the these elements stabilized each other into a new form. What is hidden at one level is either pressed upon (as in a nerve) by the other, such that struts and coloration became mutually buoyant.  What happens in our work together seems to divulge secrets that we didn’t know existed. The learning is enormously celebrative, perhaps mainly because of a commitment to affirmation of the gesture and the syllable and the sound residing somewhere. Rather than quibble with magic, we strive to see and hear it better, and to learn what it may need to thrive under light, transcending any laissez-faire approach.  Much happens, much stirs, and the to-do lists seem to multiply in the night, awaiting every daylight.

Sheila E. Murphy
K.S. Ernst
March 2, 2009