“Pair of Socks” lands MAP grad on top of national art competition

By Costa Maragos Posted: July 27, 2017 6:00 a.m.

Audie Murray, graduated from the U of R in 2017 with a Bachelor of Fine Arts from the Faculty of Media, Art, and Performance. Her work was featured at the MacKenzie Art Gallery as part of the BFA grad show in spring, 2017.
Audie Murray, graduated from the U of R in 2017 with a Bachelor of Fine Arts from the Faculty of Media, Art, and Performance. Her work was featured at the MacKenzie Art Gallery as part of the BFA grad show in spring, 2017. Photo courtesy of Lucille Fisher

Leave it up to the creative mind of an artist to transform an everyday item into an acclaimed piece of art.

Audie Murray has done just that by transforming a pair of well-worn, slightly stained sports socks into something special.

Murray has received an early career boost after graduating with a Bachelor of Fine Arts from the Faculty of Media, Art, and Performance in the spring of 2017. 

Pair of Socks
The Métis-style bead work “Pair of Socks” is a source of pride for Audie Murray. This work will be on display at a University of Toronto art gallery this fall. Audie Murray photo
Her work “Pair of Socks” has been selected as the Saskatchewan winner of BMO 1st Art! 2017.

Each year, BMO Financial Group invites deans and instructors of post-secondary institutions across Canada to nominate up to three graduating students for the competition.

Murray was asked to submit one of her pieces. She chose the socks, whose soles feature colorful bead work.

It won the top prize from Saskatchewan and with it $7,500. Each province and territory is represented by one winning artist.

“I was surprised and felt humbled,” says Murray. “I don’t know who else submitted from Saskatchewan but I’m sure everyone was quite deserving of this.”

Murray’s submitted work speaks to her Métis heritage.

“The Métis are known for their floral bead work. A lot of their motifs are very floral. I just gave it a more contemporary feel. I view the beads as having their own energy and personality and intervening on the object,” says Murray, whose “socks” are currently on display in a student exhibition at Art Mur in Montreal this summer.

“I wanted to take already-made objects that were relatable to people. So I did beadwork on the socks to change their functionality and in the process, it brought up larger questions about society, stature, and environment.”

Murray grew up in Regina where she graduated from Thom Collegiate. She learned bead work while enrolled in the Saskatchewan Urban Native Teacher Education Program at the University of Regina.

After two years in that program, she moved to Camosun College in Victoria, B.C., before transferring to the University of Regina to complete her BFA.  

“Being at the U of R was a good experience. I really appreciated having my own studio space. It was helpful in making a lot of my work and having the feedback of staff and my peers,” says Murray.

“I was able to able to make connections with other creative people in the area, and then being nominated for a couple of awards and shows has really helped with starting off my career as well.”

Currently, Murray is an artist-in-residence at UBC’s Okanagan Campus in Kelowna, B.C., studying with the Earthline Tattoo Residency

As for the BMO 1st Art! 2017 recognition, all the winning art pieces will be on display later this year at the Justina M. Barnicke Gallery at the University of Toronto and will be featured in the fall edition of Canadian Art magazine. In addition to the prize money, BMO has invited Murray and the other winning artists to Toronto for a special reception in November.

It’s a strong start for a young artist, and it’s thanks to a pair of used socks and a creative mind.