Audie Murray: To Make Smoke

22 February 2024 – 8 September 2024

About the Exhibition

Curated By

Tak Pham

Organized By

The MacKenzie Art Gallery


Sim Gallery

The collision of red phosphorus on the tip of the matchstick against the powdered glass surface of the matchbox unfolds as an intense and rapid encounter, setting off a cascading combustion reaction. In this fiery spectacle, the red substance transforms into a brilliant white, releasing its stored energy in the form of scorching heat. What remains in the aftermath is a veil of smoke, a spectral residue that bears witness, validates, and narrates the event that just took place.

Audie Murray’s exhibition To Make Smoke is the second in a series of exhibitions of artists from the plains/prairies region of Canada that push the constraints of artistic representation, both formally and conceptually. Murray explores smoke as a medium and how it helps reveal more fluid understandings of creativity outside of dominant materialistic or product-focused approaches. The exhibition features “ready-made” objects and organic residue, drawing on their ambiguity and versatility to evoke the complexity faced by Indigenous artists as they navigate the demands, expectations, appropriations, and limitations of the contemporary art world.

While visible and odorous, smoke is elusive and amorphous; it possesses the freedom to assume many shapes and forms. In To Make Smoke, the substance’s ephemeral nature serves as a form of resistance against predatory exposure and helps the artist reclaim their autonomy over the significance of their work.

This presentation marks the second installment in NEXT, presented by the MacKenzie Art Gallery with support from RBC Emerging Artists, and the first to feature a Treaty 4-based artist.

To Make Smoke is a celebration of innovations made in the studio and on land, exploring unorthodox materials and mediums to both challenge the constraints of contemporary art materials and reshape preconceptions of Indigenous art practices. The exhibition invites the viewers to engage with the artist’s sensitivity and curiosity about the environment where she resides and creates, fostering a renewed appreciation for her unique perspective.

Tak Pham, curator

Realized with support from RBC, the NEXT series premieres solo projects by early-career artists based in the prairies.


Audie Murray is a visual artist who works with a multitude of mediums such as sculpture, media, beadwork and drawing. Her practice is informed by the process of making and visiting to explore themes of contemporary culture, embodied experiences and lived dualities. These modes of working assist with the recentering of our collective connection to bodies, ancestral knowledge systems, and relationality. Murray is Cree-Métis from the Lebret and Meadow Lake communities located on Treaty 4 & 6 territories and is currently based in Oskana kâ-asastêki (Regina, Saskatchewan).

Murray holds a visual arts diploma from Camosun College, 2016; a Bachelor of Fine Arts from the University of Regina, 2017; a Master of Fine Arts from the University of Calgary, 2022. She has exhibited widely, including at Remai Modern, Saskatoon; The Vancouver Art Gallery; Centre for Contemporary Arts, Glasgow; and the Anchorage Museum. Murray is represented by Fazakas Gallery, located on Sḵwx̱wú7mesh, Səl̓ílwətaʔ, and xʷməθkʷəy̓əm territory (Vancouver, B.C.).

Exhibition Walkthrough