Ryan Schmal Murray creates conceptually-driven artwork that combines digital and physical media. His work addresses the search for moments of meaning by turning pop-culture media/technology on itself and transforming everyday objects and experiences into subtle psychedelia.

Murray was born in Pittsburgh, PA. He received his BFA from Carnegie Mellon University and his MFA from the University of Illinois at Chicago. His artwork has been exhibited internationally in galleries, museums, screening tours, and film festivals. Festivals include the New York Film Festival: Convergence, Antimatter [Media Art], Chicago Underground Film Festival, Milwaukee Underground Film Festival, and the Festival of (In)Appropriation. Exhibits include Light City: Baltimore, CICA Museum, and the Delaware Contemporary. He was the recipient of a 2016 Maryland State Arts Council Individual Artist Award for Digital Media. Murray lives in Baltimore, MD and serves as an Associate Professor of Electronic Media and Film at Towson University.

Artist Statement

I make artwork that utilizes video, virtual reality, found objects, painting, and music. My work seeks the discovery of moments of meaning, critical revelation, and subtle psychedelia in everyday objects, media technology, and pop-culture. Some recent pieces include a slow-motion nature documentary of the watering of fake flowers with fake blood, a video-sculpture that makes flicker films out of the very best pixels in Close Encounters of the Third Kind, and a virtual reality greenhouse where you grow television antennas and satellite dishes.

Media technology is more pervasive, persuasive, and personal than ever. I am interested in making artwork that complicates our experience with media and looks critically at the way it imposes meaning on our lives. We experience our world, other people, and ourselves through high-tech, mediatized lenses shaped by forces that have economic and political stakes in the exchange. Those forces alter our beliefs and literally shape our sense of reality. That’s why I have begun making artwork in virtual reality, a medium that epitomizes this process of technological reality-creation. In all of my artwork and the research that informs it, I am interested in the search for meaning and the nearly-numinous moments of clarity that appear when we mutate pop-culture media and see everyday objects and experiences in a new light.

Curriculum Vitae


2009             MFA in Studio Arts, University of Illinois at Chicago

2005             BFA in Art, with University and College Honors, Carnegie Mellon University, Pittsburgh, PA

Professional Appointments

2010-Now     Associate Professor, Electronic Media and Film Department, Towson University, Towson, MD

2009-2010    Visiting Assistant Professor, Electronic Media and Film Department, Towson University, Towson, MD

2008-2009    Instructor of Record, School of Art and Design, University of Illinois at Chicago, Chicago, IL

Solo Exhibitions

2014             Lost, Whitaker Gallery, Hood College, Frederick, MD

2009             Medicine Cabinet Portal and Potions and Galactic Portal Refrigerator Magnets, In
and Out
, Second Bedroom Project Space, Chicago, IL

2008             Panacea: a shoppe of potions, elixirs, reagents, and cure-alls, Eastern Expansion, Chicago, IL

2007             Questy Quest, with students Ben Pyles and Andrew Soffietti, MCG @ 800 Penn Avenue Gallery, Pittsburgh, PA

Selected Group Exhibitions, Screenings, Festivals, and Events

2020             First Look XR Market, Museum of Other Realities, Kaleidoscope

                     Revolutions per Minute Festival, UMass Boston, Boston, MA

2019             360 Film Festival, Docks de Paris, Paris, France

                     Spark, Light City: Baltimore, The Columbus Centre, Baltimore, MD

                     New York Film Festival Convergence, Elinor Bunin Munroe Film Center, New York, NY

                     Tacoma Film FestivalThe Veldt, The Grand Cinema, Tacoma, WA

                     UFVA at MCAD, Minneapolis College of Art and Design, Minneapolis, MN

                     Land of 1000 Tales: University Film and Video Association Conference, New Media Exhibition, Augsburg University, Minneapolis, MN

                     Land of 1000 Tales: University Film and Video Association Conference, Experimental Screening, Augsburg University, Minneapolis, MN

                     San Francisco Frozen Film Festival, PianoFight and Roxie Theatre, San Francisco, CA

                     Milwaukee Underground Film Festival, University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee, Milwaukee, WI

                     West Virginia Mountaineer Short Film Festival, West Virginia University, Morgantown, WV

                     Revolutions per Minute Festival, UMass Boston, Boston, MA

2018             The Adventures of Prince Achmed with New Live Score, Sweaty Eyeballs Animation and Maryland Film Festival, co-composer and performer, Parkway Theatre, Baltimore, MD

Stories Without Borders: University Film and Video Association Conference, New Media Exhibition, New Mexico State University, Las Cruces, NM

Stories Without Borders: University Film and Video Association Conference, Experimental Screening, New Mexico State University, Las Cruces, NM

Montreal Underground Film Festival, Microcinema Etre, Montreal, Canada

Portland Underground Film Festival, Clinton Street Theatre, Portland, OR

Spark II, Light City Baltimore, Harbor Place, Baltimore, MD

2017             The Festival of (In)Appropriation #9, Egyptian Theatre, Los Angeles, CA

Northwest Film Forum, Seattle, WA
Metro Cinema, Edmonton, AB, Canada
Flatpack Film Festival, Birmingham, UK
Close-Up Theatre, London, UK
Spectacle Theater, New York, NY

Light City Baltimore: On Demand, Baltimore, MD

Boundaries, Brentwood Arts Exchange, Brentwood, MD

2016             We See The Stars, The Delaware Contemporary, Wilmington, DE

Experimental Film and Video Exhibition Summer/Fall 2016, CICA Museum, Gimpo, South Korea

2015             Electronica, EBC Arts Center, Towson, MD

2014             Drowning in a Sea of Information, Work: Ann Arbor, University of Michigan, Ann Arbor, MI

Antimatter [Media Art], group exhibition,  Deluge Contemporary, Victoria, BC, Canada

Antimatter [Media Art], Close the Lid, Gently screening, Deluge Contemporary, Victoria, BC, Canada

New York Independent Film Festival, Sonnet Theatre, Producer’s Club, New York, NY

Basement Media Festival #4 Screening Tour 

Spectacle Theater, Brooklyn, NY
Sight Unseen, Baltimore, MD
Mobius, Boston, MA
Open City Cinema, Winnipeg, MB
Regional Support Network, Toronto, ON, Canada
Microlights, Milwaukee, WI
The Nightingale, Chicago, IL
Experimental Response Cinema, Austin, TX
Exploded View, Tucson, AZ
AS220, Providence, RI

Videoholica 7, Varna, Bulgaria

Experimental Film Fest Portland, Hollywood Theatre

The Magic Flute, live video projection set design for opera, with Phil Davis and students, Stephens Hall Auditorium, Towson University, Towson, MD

Chicago Underground Film Festival, “Heaved Pastiche” Shorts Program, Logan Theater

2013             Mirrorspeak, EMP Collective, Baltimore, MD

Westmaryginiasylvanington, Hodson Gallery, Hood College, Frederick, MD

Videopolis 2013, Metro Gallery, Baltimore, MD

Strange Attractors Screening Tour

Nightingale Cinema, Chicago, IL
Center for Sex and Culture, San Francisco, CA
Diverse Works Art Space, Houston, TX
Hallwalls, Buffalo, NY
LA Art Book Fair, Geffen Contemporary at MOCA, Los Angeles, CA

2012             Strange Attractors Screening Tour

Parsons Hall Project Space, Holyoke
Pittsburgh Filmmakers, Pittsburgh, PA
Do Anything, Space 4 Art, San Diego
Printed Matter, New York, NY

How Does It End? Countdown to 12/21/2012, Eyebeam Art + Technology Center, New York, NY

Pasticcio Furioso, live video projection set design for opera, with Phil Davis and Sean Hannan, Stephens Hall Auditorium, Towson University, Towson, MD

Warm, Lease Agreement, Baltimore, MD

2011             Panda Claws III, Brillobox, Pittsburgh, PA

Videopolis, group exhibition, Metro Gallery, Baltimore, MD

Videopolis, screening, Metro Gallery, Baltimore, MD

Terminal Short Video Festival, Austin Peay University, Clarksville, TN

2010             Panda Claws, with Sean Hannan, Brillobox, Pittsburgh, PA

Artscape Midway, with Kelly Schmal, Baltimore, MD

Music and Art Extravaganza, with Tav, the Senator Theatre, Baltimore, MD

Simple Gifts, with Towson University faculty and students, Harold J. Kaplan Concert Hall, Center for the Arts, Towson University

2009             MFA Thesis Screening, The Nightingale, Chicago, IL

Artists Run Chicago, Hyde Park Art Center, Chicago, IL

Action Steps, with Harold Arts musicians and video artists, Magical Musical Showcase, Museum of Contemporary Art, Chicago, IL

Formfit, Great Space, University of Illinois at Chicago

MFA Thesis Exhibition, Gallery 400, Chicago, IL

2008             Collection Collection, Mess Hall, Chicago, IL

Jeremiah Hulsebos-Spofford and Ryan Murray, Elegant Mr., Chicago, IL

Bridgeport All Stars, Co-Prosperity Sphere, Chicago, IL

Somber and Bright, The Cliff Dwellers, Chicago, IL

Formfit, Great Space, University of Illinois at Chicago

2007             FLUX 15, Three Rivers Arts Festival, Pittsburgh, PA

Encyclopedia Destructica Volume: Bumba Issue the Fourth Release Party, the Brillobox, Pittsburgh, PA

2006             Tomb of the Spy Magicians, Spinning Plate Gallery, Pittsburgh, PA

Staff and Student Exhibition, Manchester Craftsmen’s Guild, Pittsburgh, PA

100% Centennial, in collaboration with Tricycle Bicycle Cycle, Regina Miller Gallery, Pittsburgh, PA

2005             Spectacular, Spectacular!, Regina Miller Gallery, Pittsburgh, PA

Small Press Books, Multimedia Compilations, and Sound Recordings

2013             Voyage to the Vale of Cashmere, Tricycle Bicycle Cycle, digital EP. Self-released on iTunes, Amazon, and other digital retailers. Producer, engineer, co-writer, musician.

The Day Pythagoras Introduced His True Love To Papyrus on a Rooftop in Samos, concept rock album. Producer, engineer, co-writer, musician.

2012             Strange Attractors, DVD/Book collection of 2D art, video art, and writings, A Broadcast Called Life, the Institute for Extraterrestrial Sexuality and Encyclopedia Destructica

2009             Tav, Issue 2, interactive CD-ROM including images, video, animation, music, and writing, Portal series (paintings and video), Vanish (video), songs by Tricycle Bicycle Cycle, Tav

2007             Encyclopedia Destructica Volume Bumba: Issue the Fourth,  DVD/Book collection of Pittsburgh Video Artists’ work, writings, and drawings, “Bathrobe Druid Relearns the Lost Art of Sanctifying Sites” video, Cover Design, 3 color silkscreen on bookcloth,  Encyclopedia Destructica

2006             Wolfman’s Got Nards: A Compendium of New American Monsters, “Groogle”, Encyclopedia Destructica and Unicorn Mountain

Selected Press

2019             Donna Cheng, “NYFF57 Convergence: Immersive Storytelling for a Dying Planet”, Film Festival Traveler, http://filmfestivaltraveler.com/film-festival-previews/4016-nyff57-convergence-immersive-storytelling-for-a-dying-planet

                     Lapaczao Sandoval, “57th New York Film Festival, October 10-13 – Convergence”, Curtain Raiser, New York Amsterdam News, http://amnewscurtainraiser.com/2019/09/57th-new-york-film-festival-october-10.html

2014             Adam Farcus, “as close as our dreams, as far as our fears”, Bmore Art, September 4,http://bmoreart.com/2014/09/as-close-as-our-dreams-as-far-as-our-fears.html

2013             Andy Mulkerin, “New Releases”, Pittsburgh City Paper, December 26, http://www.pghcitypaper.com/pittsburgh/new-releases/Content?oid=1718309

2010             “Artscape Photos,” b the site, July 16. Photograph and caption description of Get Inked! http://www.baltimoresun.com/entertainment/bthesite/bs-bthesite-krista-gallery-artscape0716,0,6656182.photogallery Photo 4

2009             “Artists and scientists act in the intersection between the natural and the constructed,” The Artsighter, July 25. http://theartsighter.typepad.com/blog/2009/07/ryan-murray.html

“Critics Choice”, TimeOut Chicago, February

Galleries and Museums”, photograph.  Chicago Reader, February 19

2008             Candice Ralph, Infoporn, Eastern Expansion, and the new Bridgeport Art District: What Lumpen has in store for this year’s Select Media Festival”, Chicago Weekly.  November 12  http://chicagoweekly.net/2008/11/12/infoporn-eastern-expansion-and-the-new-bridgeport-art-district/

Sara McCool, “No Sleep till Bridgeport”, Eye Exam, Newcity, Chicago, IL.  August 28.  p 15.  http://www.newcitychicago.com/chicago/8092.html

2006             Scott Mervis, “Art, music, comics can be found on Unicorn Mountain”, Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, Weekend Magazine, October 19

Whitney Matheson, Pop Candy, “Five Things I Found This Weekend”, USA Today, http://blogs.usatoday.com/popcandy/2006/10/five_things_i_f.html

Honors and Awards

2020-2021    FACET Emerging Technology Fellowship, Faculty Academic Center of Excellence at Towson, Towson University

2019             DevLab XR Accelerator 2019, Kaleidoscope, RYOT Films, and Saul Zaentz Innovation Fund

2016             Individual Artist Award in Digital/Electronic Art, Maryland State Arts Council

                     Innovation in Teaching Award, with Phillip Collister and Phil Davis, Office of Academic Innovation, College of Fine Arts and Communication, Towson University

2014             Innovation in Teaching Award, Office of Academic Innovation, College of Fine Arts and
Communication, Towson University

2013             Juror’s Award, First Prize, Westmaryginiasylvanington Regional Juried Exhibition, Juror: Andrew Pollan, Hodson Gallery, Hood College, Frederick, MD

2010             Artscape Midway Honorarium, Baltimore Office for Promotion of the Arts

2008             Teaching Appointment, University of Illinois at Chicago

2007             Larsen Fellowship, University of Illinois at Chicago

2005             University and College Honors, Carnegie Mellon University

2001-2005    Andrew Carnegie Scholarship, Carnegie Mellon University