Bargain With The Devil

Katie Murken

Reception Saturday, September 10 6-9pm
through October 9

Live Jazz with Pete Stanwood duo 

Bargain With The Devil, Katie Murken’s window installation at The Great Highway Gallery in San Francisco’s Outer Sunset neighborhood, is a tableaux of sculpture and photography that questions the unknown agreements we enter into as consumers. The arrangement consists of a derelict shopping cart filled with dry and depleted soil, a wall-mounted drainage pipe, and a series of photographs of roadside signage from California’s Central Valley — the site of an urgent debate over water policy and its effect on the farming industry and local populations. Together, these objects and images depict an apocalyptic view of the current environmental crisis and our collective responsibility as consumers to take positive action towards healing our relationship to the natural world.

Murken’s work has long centered on the detrimental impact of overconsumption on individuals, particularly women, and communities. She has recently started working with found objects and images derived from grocery stores, meccas for our consumptive dependencies and desperate desire for security. The grocery cart represents the void we are endlessly trying to fill and its open latticework the futility of trying to meet that longing through consumption. In Bargain With The Devil, Murken expands this critique to the wider issue of the depletion of natural resources. As the source of all life, soil and water are imperative to existence. Yet we find ourselves at a bleak crossroads where we must choose between our dependence on capitalist consumerism and the natural world that sustains us. Bargain With The Devil presents the skeleton of a world where we’ve already run out of time, where the earth and water have become the commodities we so desperately seek.

About the Artist Katie Murken is a Bay Area artist working in sculpture, collage and installation. She works with found objects which are unremarkable and familiar from everyday life in consumer culture. Plastic bags and grocery circulars are mundane, even repugnant, yet for Murken speak to the common aspects of human experience. Murken’s process is driven by the challenge to transform these unwanted materials into objects of beauty and power. Her work has been exhibited at an.ä.log gallery, San Francisco, CA; Woolf Gallery, London, UK; The Carnegie Museum of Art, Pittsburgh, PA; Grounds for Sculpture, Hamilton, NJ; The Soap Factory, Minneapolis, MN; and The Contemporary Arts Center of Las Vegas, Las Vegas, NV. Her work is included in the collections of The Pennsylvania Convention Center, The William Paterson University, and the J. Edgar Louise S. Monroe Library at Loyola University. Murken holds an MFA in Book Arts and Printmaking from The University of the Arts in Philadelphia and BFA with Honors from The Pennsylvania State University, State College, PA.


The Great Highway is a fine art gallery and working studio featuring contemporary works in all mediums. The gallery has a deep appreciation for images and ideas that explore where lands meet water.

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The Great Highway
3649 Lawton St.
San Francisco, CA 94122

phone: (415) 680-3891

By appointment 7 days a week

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