Upcoming Exhibitions > Lois Martin

Lois Martin
Lois Martin
2019, Hawaiian shirt, watercolor, 6 x 11 inches

Lois Martin
Artist’s Statement

For many years, I have been creating art about New York City subway riders. The subject compels me; I snatch sketches on the train as I travel, and then put together composites of remembered and imagined scenes in the studio. Children, wry contrasts, and glimpses of drama (whether romance, rage, or camaraderie) are favorite subjects.

I work in a variety of media at a miniature scale. In my mixed media sculptures, I build wire armatures for figure bodies and form heads and hands from polymer clay. The figures are dressed with found scraps, often re-purposed lost gloves or bits of fabric. My watercolor paintings are usually accentuated with goldleaf, and my drawings are executed in silverpoint on prepared paper. I love the way the combination of precious (gold & silver) and commonplace (scraps of paper) seems to reflect the subway setting with its compressed chain of humanity and contrasts of drama and dullness. Smashed up next to a stranger, subway riders don’t know whether their neighbor is a murderer or a Nobel Laureate -- or who has just committed a robbery, won a lottery, or been diagnosed with a terminal illness. Sparks of emotion suggest optimistic or pessimistic readings, but there is no overarching narrative.

I work slowly, loading great detail into each compressed image. Often I work in a scroll format, representing a horizontal line of seated and standing figures. Together, the linear format, miniature scale, and richness of detail hopefully pull viewers into this mysterious subterranean orbit.