Ryan Schmal Murray creates conceptually-driven artwork that combines digital and physical media. His work addresses the search for moments of meaning by altering pop-culture media and transforming everyday objects or 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. Murray’s artwork has been exhibited internationally in galleries, museums, screening tours, and film festivals. Recent festivals include the Festival of (In)Appropriation (Los Angeles, New York, Seattle, Edmonton, London, Birmingham, UK), Antimatter Media Art Festival (Victoria, Canada), Chicago Underground Film Festival, Milwaukee Underground Film Festival, Montreal Underground Film Festival, Portland Underground Film Festival, RPM Fest (Boston), and Basement Media Festival Tour (ten cities in the US and Canada). Recent exhibits include CICA Museum (Gimpo, South Korea), the Delaware Contemporary, and a solo show at Hood College in Frederick, MD. 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 intermedia artworks that utilize video, virtual reality, found objects, performance, painting, and music. In my work, I aim for the discovery of moments of meaning, nostalgia, and subtle psychedelia in everyday objects and pop-culture. Recent works include a virtual reality greenhouse where you grow television antennas and satellite dishes, a slow-motion video of the watering of fake flowers with fake blood, and a video-sculpture that makes flicker films out of the very best pixels in Close Encounters of the Third Kind. 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, Department of Electronic Media and Film, Towson University,
Towson, MD

2009-2010   Visiting Assistant Professor, Department of Electronic Media and Film, 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, collaborative project show, post-performance exhibit, MCG @ 800 Penn Avenue Gallery, Pittsburgh, PA

Selected Group Exhibitions, Screenings, Festivals, and Events

2019              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

New Media Exhibition, Stories Without Borders: University Film and Video Association Conference 2018, New Mexico State University, Las Cruces, NM

Experimental Screening, Stories Without Borders: University Film and Video Association Conference 2018, 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, 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, Victoria, BC, Canada

Antimatter [Media Art], screening, 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 Office of Promotion and the Arts, 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, illustrated artist’s book of poetry (upcoming). 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

2014              “as close as our dreams, as far as our fears”, Bmore Art, September 4, Adam Farcus,

2013              “New Releases”, Pittsburgh City Paper, December 26, Andy Mulkerin, 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”, short write-up and photograph. TimeOut Chicago, February

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

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

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

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

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

Honors and Awards

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, Tuition Waiver and Stipend, 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