‘Social Observations’ exhibition observes life through new perspectives


By Mira Scott
Staff Writer

The Brookhaven College School of the Arts gave students, staff and faculty an opportunity to view and learn about the art drawings of Michelle Martin, an artist working in all print media and drawing. A reception was held Sept. 22 in the Forum Gallery in F Building.

“The series began as a spin-off from my earlier project, ‘Social Observations,’ as I was interested in continuing to depict social interactions and historical commentary. … My work is reminiscent of prints created by the old masters, so while there are realistic elements, the work has a surreal aspect to it,” Martin said in an email to The Courier.

Martin said she repurposes historic images and makes them seductive. She said her work prompts viewers’ nostalgia for fairy tales and whimsical stories, but also generates disquieting and open-ended narratives.

Martin said one of the pieces she is most fond of is “Tethers.” The black and white drawing depicts a chunk of a land with trees and house suspended in mid-air. The object that stands out the most are a set of ropes loosely hung around the bottom half of a rock as if holding the land from flying off.

Martin used a photopolymer etching process to create “Tethers.”

Images made using the photopolymer etching process are captured on a plate that is inked and printed by pressure through an etching process, according to photopolymergravure.com.

“[The art pieces] are meant to work the human imagination,” Adony Rios, a student, said about Martin’s work. “[‘Passage’] really makes you feel like there really are no limits as to where you can go,” he said about one of the art pieces..

While Martin uses modern technology, such as Photoshop, and photopolymer etching to create her artwork, she said she wants them to have a timeless quality and feel as if they were made a hundred years ago. Martin said she views her process as a form of image sustainability, a recycling of past imagery into new forms that combines digital technologies with hand-made processes of etching, sewing and chine-collé.

“Primarily, the exhibits serve as an educational institution to the art students,” David Newman, the gallery director, said. The art department starts the fall semester with two exhibitions from professional artists so art students can see what professional artwork looks like and what a finished art gallery can look like as well, Newman said.

“I have always made art, primarily because it is my calling and my passion,” Martin said.