"The Shape of the Voyage" is a poetic telling of a forest in winter, where the shadow figure of a deer stands on the path and mushrooms are dusted in snow. The painting is part realist and part magical; the work remains fixed in a kind of drift, where the slowing of time accounts for the dream-like quality. Murphy sees her work in connection to the romanticism of the Hudson River School and to the gestural painting of the New York Abstract Expressionists.
Joanna Murphy works in her Lower East Side neighborhood and, what she describes as her "transcendental" studio in the Catskill mountains. She began her career as an "en plain air" landscape painter and her inspirations remain the same: the land, nature, animals and poetry. She is an alumnus of the Swain School of Design in Bedford, MA.