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Within my current work, I explore the tension between surface appearances and the complicating phenomena, emotions, and circumstances that lie underneath. The stories I tell are grounded in my everyday experiences as a woman, as well as familial, ancestral, and communal observations. My work utilizes motifs such as irons, laundry baskets, and kitchenware that are attached to traditional gender roles, examining the tension that these items emit and, at the forefront, how I have internalized it. This deeply contrasts with my love for the domestic and its ability to foster moments of intimate care and bonding, which also emerges within the work. I aim to navigate these home spaces that should, ideally, be our safe-havens, but have been tainted by social standards and expectations that are difficult to ignore or transcend.
Psychological color is an integral element in my work, as I mesh natural color palettes with moments of bright, fiery oranges to imply that these accents are merely heightening something that already pervades the everyday. The process of painting is essential to my practice; intuitively building up and stripping away paint acts as a very literal way to reveal underlying layers and construct additional barriers, coverings, and second skins. Other ways of making have also played invaluable roles in exploring these feelings and concepts. Hand-building with terracotta has allowed me to venture into the uncanny with dishware that is irregular and heavy. There are also moments of embroidery, a medium through which I aim to pay homage to a long history of women artists who were not often celebrated as such.
My paintings share some qualities with Lois Dodd’s, as her observational paintings utilize painterly, intuitive brushwork and vibrant, complementary colors. Dodd frequently returns to motifs such as windows, house exteriors, and clotheslines, but is able to create a variety of exciting outcomes based solely on familiar surroundings. My work also dialogues with Shannon Cartier Lucy’s, particularly paintings in her Our New Home series, as they are grounded in everyday spaces and often put women in vulnerable positions that can make the viewer feel alarmed and concerned for the figures involved. Her works are always framed in a way that is conscious of the aspects of viewership, ambiguous as to what degree the viewer is a voyeur. My paintings ask similar questions when dissecting the performative aspects of domestic life, creating compositions that force the viewer into situations like peeking through a cracked door or looking down on the figure.
Sarah Martin, John Utgaard, Antje Gamble, T. Michael Martin
honey, i'm home features nine oil on canvas pieces. one featuring embroidered details. Also included is a set of sculptural, terracotta dishes, and an embroidery piece on found objects.
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This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-No Derivative Works 4.0 International License.
Shackelford, Kaley, "honey, i'm home" (2023). B.F.A. Practicum Exhibition (ART 498). 114.