MAR 5, 2022 - AUG 29, 2022
“When I am among the trees,
especially the willows and the honey locust,
equally the beech, the oaks and the pines,
they give off such hints of gladness.
I would almost say that they save me, and daily.”
- Mary Oliver
Martha Kelly was preparing to start on a series of linoleum block prints at the beginning of 2020. As the world shut down and normalcy retreated, many were left unmoored from their safe harbors of schedules and social norms. Kelly and her muse – her eighty-pound boxer, Mr. Darcy – found their “new normal” in the forests, around the waterways, and through the legacy of Walter Anderson.
Kelly, like Anderson, creates her work from specific places that inspire her. A forest near her house in Tennessee, the expansive waterscapes of the Northwest, and the undulating shoreline of the Gulf Coast all assert themselves in her work. These elements have imprinted themselves onto the artist’s mind, and the artist has in turn printed them in ink for the viewer.
The works displayed here serve as reflections, or imprints, of time spent in nature where Kelly found rest from the tumult of the modern world. The images possess a quiet, peaceful quality which draws the viewer into a particular moment. Yet, these glimpses into Kelly’s world are not stationary. Rather, they are electric in their depictions, as though the living landscape has but paused momentarily, allowing itself to be captured by the artist. Kelly states that through the process of creating these works she is able to mentally escape to these sacred places, finding solace amongst the trees.
Photo by Charles Barnes
"My work is always about paying attention, looking deeply at the world around me, and trying to share the beauty and delight I find with others. It is always a gift to have my perspective changed, like the turn of a kaleidoscope, by seeing things through others' eyes, and I try to pass on that gift in my turn. The last couple of years have been a time of looking closely at the world around me and finding joy in the more limited range that we have all been allowed. For this exhibition, I went deep into the forest near my house but also drew from some of the more expansive water landscapes in Washington State.
Like Walter Anderson, I make art from specific places that I experience first-hand, places I am drawn back to again and again, places that are deeply familiar and knitted into the fabric of my life. I work on site in sketches, usually ink and watercolor, that capture the immediacy of the place for me and remind me of the things that most captured my attention.
Photos by Greg Campbell
At home I comb through my sketchbooks for images that will translate well into the graphic world of prints. These sketches record light and color and focal point, all things that can be lost or dimmed in photographs. For some prints I draw additional detail from photos, especially for the more intricate pieces, but the photos are mine and come from my experience of the place. I love moving from the color and organic flow of watercolor into the surface pattern and linear nature of printmaking, playing with familiar images in new ways. Making the prints allows me to mentally sit in those places as I immerse myself in the images, especially welcome during a locked down year."
– Martha Kelly
Exhibition schedule presented by
Hints of Gladness sponsored by