Painting relates to both art and life. Neither can be made. (I try to act in that gap between the two.)- Robert Rauschenberg 1959
As we navigate through our daily lives we encounter an array of objects. Most of which we engage with solely on a functional level, while others additionally embody psychological impressions that are associated with past experiences, events, and people. I am interested in the desires we have to be connected to one another whether it is through relationships, memories, or today’s ever-increasing use of communication devices. As a human race we are able to form bonds with others that are nurtured emotionally and psychologically, however physical proximity is not always necessary. My work examines the bond and the desire to be connected through the liminal space that affixes the various pieces together that form our identity. It is within this liminal space that holds the memories, relationships, and experiences that define who we are and how we understand our place in the world. By exploring this area I am given the opportunity to either reveal and/or conceal the depth and layers that assist in shaping our own subjectivity.
Currently, my work uses the imagery of needles made from clay and actual thread, which allows me to speak about the moment of connection. I see the needle as an essential implement, a tool of action, in the process that connects the various parts that make up oneself, while the thread is the binder that holds them in place. Like our past experiences, the needle and thread are not always evident or visually present, yet they are vital to forming our understanding of ourselves. In using the imagery of this tool and binder I am able to discover various moments of connection.
I choose to work with clay for its versatility and its historical relationship to humans. Its physical properties allow for the creation and reproduction of objects and imagery while its tactile quality permits the hand to become a part of the piece and its process. In a time when technology and seamless design are increasingly present in our daily lives the evidence of human presence through the clays response to touch and blemishes has become an essential element of my work. Additionally, I choose to juxtapose clay with found material, as I find it offers me the opportunity to explore the dialog and space between a simulated object and the real.
A. M. Martens