Tuesday, August 22, 2017

The Perspective From Here at Thunder Bay Art Gallery

My Light Green Heart
57 x 75 cm
Old damask linen, procion dye, hand stitch  2017
Judy Martin

Every time I worked on this leaf green piece, I felt as if sheltered by a tree.  The small repetitive movements of myh hands as they made the marks calmed me during a hwirl of personal and world events.  The greeness and softness of the old cloth is why I started it and why I continued with it.

I suppose it's a worry cloth, heavily stitched with green and red marks that add interest, weight and texture.  Manhy of the marks added over a lengthy period of time were eventually folded into tucks and although the marks are still there, they are hiding.  With my work, I strive to express our emotional and vulnerable inner world.  I believe this is what art does best.I
Canadian Pioneer
122 x 162.5 cm
Reclaimed wool blankets, wool cloth, wool yarns, fulled and hand stitched, 2012
Judy Martin

With this piece I consider what it must have ben like for my female settler ancdestors to come to Canada and make a life.   Inspired by a utilitarian bar quilt from 19th century Ontario,the process and the materials tell a story of survival.

Old blankets were cut and sewn into a vertically striped cloth which was later slashed open.  The circular wound was then mended (and strengthened) with blanket stitch.  Small squares of wool were cut, folded and stitched into a grid to represent the repeated daily chores.  Finally, the whole thing was drowned in water in the washing machine and became transformed into something tougher as it became felted.  Canadian Pioneer was then quilted twice, first to a brown blanket and then to a red wool cloth.  Perserverant, optimistic and courageous, I offer it as a metaphor for the woman pioneers of Canada.  For me, it is a warm flag with a large, open, raw heart that communicates warmth, usefulness, bravery and optimism.

Canada in its early days was a dangerous, cold and lonely place for European women.  There must have been a longing for the more refined life and family left behind.  Yet I believe that those brave women must also have experienced deep wonder at the immensity and the natural raw beauty of Canada.  I feel that they must have looked at the sky a lot.
Beginning with Time
A two sided piece, (Day)
198 x 228.5 cm

Reclaimed wool blankets, wool cloth, silk velvet, locally sourced plant dyes, wool yarns, hand stitch
Judy Martin

Beginning with Time is a response to Canada’s natural grandeur and rawness, specifically the beautiful and powerful rock cuts through Northern Ontario’s Cambrian shield and the tree covered cliffs of the inland fjords found in the Gros Morne area of Newfoundland.

Vertical strips of plant dyed wool are hand stitched to the central area of a dark wool blanket.  I enjoy how the seed stitches function on one side of the blanket to attach the layers of cloth while on the reverse side, a pattern of descending accumulation results.  This makes both sides of the piece the ‘right’ side, each holding time, labour, and human touch. Similar to the repetition found in nature handmade marks are all the same, yet each unique.
 
I prefer to make art that requires physical involvement by the viewer, either by walking alongside its length or moving around it in order in order to see both sides.  I believe that the intimacy we have with domestic textiles and the tactile nature of cloth has a psychic power.  Touch is the mother of the senses and large spaces filled with subtle small marks distract us just enough to allow for deep contemplation.  
Beginning with Time
A two sided piece, (NIght)
198 x 228.5 cm
Judy Martin

The Perspective From Here:  150 Artists From the North  organized by the Thunder Bay Art Gallery
June 22 - September 24 2017

To mark Canada's sesquicentennial, the Thudner Bay Art Gallery mounted an ambitious contemporary art exhibition wth the goal of celebrating and demonstrating the artistic breadth, diversity, and excellence of artists who have called this area home, or still do.  The exhibition offers a glimpse of the recent artistic past and the present, while asking the viewer to imagine the future.  Included are two and three dimensional art in all mediums from ceramics and textiles to paintings and photography.   Three textiles by Judy Martin were chosen to be part of this important exhibition.

Thunder Bay Art Gallery  1080 Keewatin Street, Thunder Bay  807 577 6427

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