Caryn Martin is a graduate of MICA and University of Maryland. She also attended American University's "Arts in Italy" program in Umbria where she studied painting and art history. Solo exhibits include "The Nature of Things" at Towson Unitarian Universalist Church, "Atmospheric Abstractions" at Creative Alliance, and "A Sense of Place" at Sheppard Art Gallery in Ellicott City. Web site: www.carynmartin.com
“The silence on the floor of my house
Is all the questions and all the answers
that have been known to the world
The sentimental furniture threatens the peace
The reflection of a sunset speaks loudly of days”
I believe that many of us are afraid of silence. We constantly fill our ears and eyes with sounds and visual noise. My paintings often challenge the viewer to pause, to quiet the world around them. In order to create these moments of silence, I often use lighter values, expanses of monochromatic color, and subtle brushwork.
In my newest body of work, I am interested in how routine can become ritual, particularly for the artist, so I have created a ritual-like process of painting with tea at the end of a meal. I have found that the process is time-intensive and meditative, as the values need to be created with many layers. This series is experimental—I am painting seemingly mundane moments: the light on the floor of my kitchen, the patio door, a Baltimore rooftop. For me, these ghost-like images evoke Seurat drawings and are meant to have a fleeting sensation.
While working on these small studies in tea, I have also been creating my “action” paintings in the studio. Over the past two years, my acrylic paintings and charcoal drawings have explored emotionally charged actions and the space between the motivation and the act. I use the interaction of line and space to explore the physicality and impetus of the action. For example, I have recently captured the actions of reaching, dancing, and touching. While creating these works I reflected on how these acts imply intimacy but they also communicate a yearning, uncertainty, and vulnerability.
Prior to my verb paintings, I explored the idea of gratitude in a series of small oil paintings. I used the shift in shape, light and color as a metaphor for being in a state of gratitude. There are three sub-series in the “Gratitude” works: struggle, awakening, and awareness. Each series was created at time when gratitude was experienced in very different ways. For example, the struggle series was created during the illness of a family member. In these pieces, moments of gratitude appear brighter when held against the darkness.
My works on paper vacillate between abstraction and representation and are always concept-driven. My charcoal drawings are often memory-based pieces that reflect an inner landscape. The “Seeking” watercolor series was inspired by Mira Schendel’s installation, “Still Waves of Probability,” at the Museum of Modern Art. This installation of thin pieces of white wire attached to the ceiling undulated ever so slightly with the movement of the visitors. To me, each wire felt like a voice or a prayer. Like Schendel’s piece, my “Seeking” watercolors are mostly about a spiritual dialogue, thus the upward movement.