ActivePaper Archive Complex Process Yields Mysteries - Southampton East, 10/20/2005

Complex Process Yields Mysteries

Picture

Jane Martin’s “Silent Exchange” currently on exhibit at boltax.gallery on Shelter Island.

The images radiate mystery, beauty, and softness. The subject matter is the same for nearly all of them: a nude woman in the woods in the fog. Why she is there is never revealed. What she is doing is equally obscure. Whether or not the images are related is likewise never answered.

That may be because even their creator doesn’t have the solution to these puzzles. While artist Jane Martin placed the models in the setting and began filming, the resulting body of work is separate from what she perceives as the creative process.

“They have the feel of women communing with nature,” Ms. Martin said. “Like they are part of a story or wood nymphs or a woodland myth that we aren’t familiar with. Each person has to make up his or her own mind what the images are about, if anything.”

The images are currently on view in a solo exhibition at the boltax. gallery on Shelter Island. The show, “Closer Far Away,” will remain on view through November 6.

The intrigue and strength of the images are products of the creative vision and the complex process developed by the artist. Each artwork is a video still culled from a film shot by Ms. Martin. The pixels in the image are manipulated until it’s capable of yielding a print. The image is mounted onto a wood panel and layers of transparent resin are painted onto the surface. Placing the video still on wood and coating it with resin gives an “object-like feel to the work,” Ms. Martin said.

Combining chaos with control is important to the East Hampton artist. The “chaos” part is found in Ms. Martin’s filming style. Ms. Martin has an extensive background as a filmmaker, film director, editor, producer, production manager and cinematographer. For more than 10 years she worked in the film, video and television industry in New York, Paris, Copenhagen and in communities across France.

Her 1993 documentary, “Silent Sentries,” was broadcast frequently in prime time on Channel 13 and network television in New York, Miami, and Pittsburgh. The film was screened in film festivals in France, Spain, Chicago, Belgium and other places.

In the mid-1990s, Ms. Martin turned her hand to painting. In 2000, she combined her two passions to create mixed media paintings from video stills.

While filming to create art, Ms. Martin works freely and often “dances” with the handheld camera. The technique allows for a free flow of ideas and images to be captured on film in a spontaneous way.

Out of focus shots are a by-product. So are images that couldn’t be captured by exercising rigid control over filming. Control comes into play when the artist is honing selected images to enhance resolution and remove grain, unwanted slashes of black and the marring that naturally occurs when running video frames are isolated in one still.

“I’m really doing something that’s not meant to be done,” Ms. Martin said. “The frames are meant to be part of a film, not blown up to 42 by 55 inches.”

After shooting a digital film, she combs through hours of footage to select video stills. Her camera produces 30 images per second. For the show at the boltax.gallery, Ms. Martin culled around 100 stills and brought them to a meeting with gallery owner and director Karen Boltax. From there, 30 were selected for transformation into art.

Each still selected is teased into a fully developed image. The image is then mounted onto wood panels and layers are infused in the work. Layers of resin and/or paint are important in all of Ms. Martin’s artwork.

“I’ve always been interested in layers and the feeling of something uncovered rather than created,” she said. “There’s a richness and depth that’s created when you work with layers that I’m attracted to.”

While the artwork at boltax.gallery is figurative, most of her other works are abstract. Those works combine layers of acrylic paint with layers of resin. She also makes paintings without video stills. Two abstract paintings—sans video still—are currently on view at the Spanierman Gallery in East Hampton.

Combining her prior creative field of choice with her current one has given the artist the sense of coming full circle.

“Everything I’ve done in the past is integral to what I’m doing today,” Ms. Martin said. “The film and television work and the painting—it’s all coming together. There’s a certain perfection in that for me.”

Ms. Martin has exhibited her artwork at galleries in Manhattan, Brooklyn and in France. Her work is in private collections in the United States and Europe. Her corporate clients include Pfizer, Inc., Interactive Media and Arthur Anderson.

Locally, she has exhibited in the Parrish Art Museum’s 1999 Juried Exhibition, at the Arlene Bujese Gallery, Ashawagh Hall and at other spaces. In July, Ms. Martin was part of the site-specific installation, “Parallax: Art on the Trax,” near the Southampton train station while –scopeHamptons was in town. Parallax is a collective of eight area artists who meet to discuss process and inspiration.

“Closer Far Away”will be on view at boltax.gallery on Shelter Island through November 6. The gallery is open Friday through Sunday, 11 a.m.to6p.m.andbyappointment. “Art in the Garden”will be on view at the Spanierman Gallery in East Hampton through October 31. The gallery is open Thursday through Mondayfrom10a.m.to6p.m.