Los Angeles-based, Houston-born artist Troy Murrah cuts thousands of fragments from reclaimed materials and discarded furniture to create his wood mosaic artworks. Traditional quilt block patterns are assembled and painted to serve as the background to his laser-engraved drawings that feature imagery influenced by his past.
“RECLAIMED: Wood Mosaic Art by Troy Murrah” is an exhibition of Murrah’s recent works premiering at this year’s International Quilt Festival, October 23-31, 2021 at the George R. Brown Convention Center in Houston, Texas.
From a minivan-type family vacation to an eight-foot Steve Harvey (complete with a “quilted” suit) set in the 1970s version of the TV game show Family Feud; from an iconic portrait of Dolly Parton in a dazzling patterned blouse to a Viking ship navigating a vibrant ocean of wood quilt blocks, his work is influenced by reclaimed memories spanning a childhood immersed in Texas to early adulthood beginnings in Los Angeles with production design.
The artist uses materials that have been around for centuries and manmade materials of today. Unconventional material (e.g., discarded Ikea shelving, antique pickled floorboard samples, kitchen cabinet doors from a 1930s home, aged pine, engineered floorboards, a discarded piano, faux wood window molding) plays an instrumental role in the process. Material meant to be used for another purpose yet creatively repurposed is part of the charm. Through this, Murrah sheds light on the vibrancy, resourcefulness, and beauty of reclaimed materials.
He pairs this all with painted detailing, wood-burned ornamentation, and laser engravings, which juxtapose traditional quilt block patterns with his drawings influenced by the Old Masters. Linking today’s audience to past traditions is the result: the artist’s drawings and his wood mosaics based on timeless quilt patterns. Quilts have long been a reminder of the comforts of home. They are a legacy left to us by resourceful, hard-working hands. The artist celebrates them by updating the use of time-honored block patterns found in quilts for centuries, taking them beyond the cloth.
The release of Murrah’s new book Wood Mosaic Projects with Fox Chapel Publishing will be released in conjunction with the exhibition’s display during the Houston Quilt Festival and Market at the George R. Brown Convention Center.