February 23 – April 5, 2018
Roll Up Project is pleased to present work by Susan Abbott Martin.
For over 30 years, Martin has experimented with sculpture and wall works drawing inspiration from nature and contemporary culture. Using found objects and industrial materials, she composes poetic compositions often within a gridded format. Her sculptures highlight the opposing qualities of materials: heavy and light, textured and smooth, shiny and matte, dark and light. These elements combine in engaging, accessible works whose simplicity belies their complex and technical construction.
Long Division is a site-specific piece. Filling the main Roll Up window on Harrison Street, ten steel pillars with laminated plywood elements have been installed in a wide V configuration. The pillars are reminiscent of industrial architecture, but they also hint of a forest – a grove of trees creating narrow walkways and long shadows. The smooth and varied texture of the plywood elements, with the subtle horizontal lines, create a counterpoint to the vertical pillars and suggest river rocks or a bannister touched by a million hands In the background, a life-size black and white photographic image hints to where the piece is stored – her everyday and private studio space.
The windows on Third Street feature selected groupings from a larger work entitled Penelope’s Task Revisited, Part I. The title references Penelope in Homer’s Odyssey. Determined to wait for her husband’s return, she wove by day and unwove by night, a tapestry, in an effort to fend off unwanted suitors. Her act of methodical, repetitive work was a quiet act of heroism and self-determination. For over 20 years and still, Martin methodically crossstitches individual 3” x 3” squares, eventually using all 400+ colors of thread available. The work pays homage to women who embroider everyday things: tea towels, pillowcases, napkins, etc. and substitutes outdated perceptions of embroidery as “women’s work” with a lively minimalist examination of labor, time and color.
Susan Abbott Martin was born in Oakland, California. She received her MFA from the California College of Arts and Crafts in 1981. Martin has exhibited her work nationally and locally at the Oakland Museum at City Center, Cuesta College in San Luis Obispo, the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art Artist Gallery and the Dennos Museum at Northwestern Michigan State in Traverse City. Her work has been reviewed in Art Forum, the SF Chronicle, Artweek and the World Herald in Omaha, Nebraska. Martin has received numerous grants, awards and residencies including two grants from the Pollock Krasner Foundation, the Lila Wallace Reader’s Digest International Artists Program at Monet’s garden in Giverny, France, the Bemis Foundation in Omaha, NE and Yaddo in Saratoga Springs, NY. Susan Abbott Martin currently lives and works in Oakland, CA.
To learn more about her work, click here.