Jennifer K. Martin

Summer heat Paintings

Jennifer K. Martin, BFA, MFA


I create series of artworks that focus on the beauty in Nature's physical systems. Inspired by patterns, color, oxidation, life, and decay in physical, geological, astronomical, and biological fields of scientific study and observation, I find the neglected beauty in scientific events is often overlooked and taken for granted. This has influenced my ongoing pursuit of emphasizing Nature's work for the viewer. Workshops with John Cage, Jiro Okura, and Ray Kass involved spontaneous or ordered (I Ching) methods of allowing natural elements to guide and create the art. This spontaneous way with Nature and my work in Particle Physics in Japan influenced a 'Zen' approach in my own work. My recent projects involve sculptures depicting psychological and social behaviour theorems interpreted through form and color, the hidden particles and waves underlying the spectrum of light utilized by human vision, and color shown in the feathers of bird species, also responding to man's relationship with these creatures. New projects present a series of prints looking at fractals in nature and a series relating meditative Zen 'Ensō' and dramatic Centrifugal Force.

Combining the materials of my science work and painting processes led to the development of my 'Evaporation' paintings. Described as “very Zen” by viewers, pouring mixed-media materials onto a flat support produces organic forms that develop themselves in these paintings. When I place them on the wall for study, the forms seem to come alive and want to jump out of the canvas into three-dimensional space.

This resulted in the development of my “New Species” series of sculptures that are made of painted steel or aluminium. The materials are cut spontaneously into organic shapes, a composition is designed, and the pieces are welded and painted as necessary. These sculptures are the three-dimensional representation of physical or emotional relationships implied by form and color theory. They have a sense of passionate play, erotica, as well as the possibility of violence. They convey a total sense of joy and a celebration of life in its most basic attitudes.

Scientific thought also inspires the multi-element ensembles that I create. These pieces are made by 'blind' cutting, painting, and wiring small metal pieces to forms. “Color Play – Leaving White” is the visual presentation of micro-cosmic particle/wave theory of light and color, a polyptych installation consisting of eleven spheres of various sizes: ten multi-coloured spheres 'leaving' a large white sphere (photon/particle/wave) that represents white light, the sum of all colors. All the pieces (particles) seem to float through the exhibition space, including the three primary colors, secondary, tertiary, and monochromatics.

“Memory of Bluebirds” represents the rare flash of wonderful blues that we enjoy when a Bluebird escapes our presence, yet built large, unlike the tiny bird, consuming/invading six feet of the viewer's space much as we invade the bird's space, allowing or forcing them to fully realize and enjoy the colors. “Canary Crisis” is a tiny Canary lying on antique newspaper inside a cage that was used in a coal mine years ago; a small example of man's unkind use of fellow creatures without feeling or thought of his impact on the species.

My 'Nature Painting – Painting Nature' bridge project, consists of ten 48” x 24” printed images (taken by non-digital methods) of buttresses on the most antique section of the Seven Mile Bridge in the Keys. The beauty of Nature 'painting' on the faces of these pillars has fascinated me since the first time I saw them. The oxidation of metals, leaching of salts from the concrete by natural forces, the effects of time, water, weather, and man's touch of graffiti create almost new paintings each year. I have 'painted with Nature' on these printed images, emphasizing the collage of organic material left on these faces.This installation includes a complement of sculptures abstractly portraying Cormorants and Pelicans that inhabit the bridge as they search for food, sun, and shelter.

The jewelled colors that surround my life in South Florida and Virginia influence my art. This work is an ongoing abstracted expression of Nature and its physical behaviours and events, harmonies and discords. Also touching on man's relationship with Nature, I hope to remind the viewer of our precarious situation in the midst of all this beauty, hopefully conveying how fortunate we are to experience this precious life.