The LaCloche Art Show 2009
Here are relevent excerpts from the Manitoulin Expositor Article by Jim Moodie (editor)
This year's distinguished artist was Sheguiandah's own Judy Martin, whose intricately crafted and emotionally stirring works of fabric art have captivated viewers in galleries near and far.
"The textiles that Judy produces are beautiful, labour-intensive and complex," said committee member Jon Butler in introducing Ms Martin, adding that she brings a passion about "the family and our environment" to her painstaking creations, notable for the amount of hand-stitching that goes into them. For her part, Ms Martin said it was an honour to be chosen as the 2009 artist of distinction, and encouraged her fellow artists to heed the advice of author Stephen King, who recommends, in a non fiction book about the creative process, that one must go into the studio every day and close the door. "It's like when you have to go to bed at a certain time, and can then access the dream world, because your body and soul know to relax and let that happen," Ms Martin analogized. "An artist who goes every day to the studio can get the body and mind ready to access the awake dream world."
As part of her distinguished artist role, Ms Martin was required to donate a work as a raffle item; she chose a piece that combines watercolour painting with wild flowers and thread titled The Soul is a Bird on the Wing. The artwork had hung in her own living room for three years, she shaid, and she felt comfortable with it becoming the raffle prize, not to mention the image to grace the poster for this year's show.
Several stunning new Martin works - a couple of them so new that she completed the final touches "just hours before they were hung up" had pride of place along the back wall of the hall's upper floor; and reeled in show-goers with their seductive hues and organic textures.Particularly arresting was a large work of painted canvas combined with paper and stitching, titled The Light of the Moon, while a smaller work of collage called I Think About Their Mothers provocatively pieced together excerpts of Globe stories about Afghanistan fatalities into a shape reminiscent of a swaddling blanket or papoose. Ms Martin noted that she has often entered artwork in the LaCloche show, even though her preferred mediums and the types of imagery she favours are not typical of the exhibitions, which ends to emphasize landscape painting. "I've been in the show lots, and it's always been something strange" she noted, recalling that "the first one I had in here was a photograph stitched to cloth".
Such works don't lend themselves to easy categorization - the grab-all mixed media label will usually apply, for lack of a more precise term - nor will they provoke as immediate a feeling of recognition in viewers as would, say, a pine tree on a rocky shore.
Given the unconventional nature of her creative work - and a general reluctance among the broader art world to rank pieces of fabric based art on the same level as oils and watercolours - Ms Martin was pleased, and proud, to have been chosen by her peers as this year's LaCloche notable.
"It's wonderful to be recognized as a textile artist in a show of mostly paintings," she said. "It raises the status of quilts as legitimate art and helps bring this medium into the mainstream of fine arts."