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Artist Statement

 

In my latest works on paper, I use fragile materials and ephemeral processes to speak to the tenuous state of the environment. Dramatic shifts in weather and long-term climate changes inform these large-scale works.

The installations reflect both intention and improvisation as I construct layered, atmospheric monotype composites. These works are contained but also break the traditional frame; they feel both unified and divided, heavy yet light.

This interest in dualities has driven recent work, inspired by the contrasting weather patterns and water levels across the United States. Images of forest fires, storms, and flooding have influenced works such as "Tomorrow's Storm" and "Soak/Scorch." While dualities are present, the works embrace transformation in their shifting use of color and varying states of material degradation. Ultimately, the installations reflect the constantly changing climate—vulnerable, at times volatile, and yet still beautiful.

In addition to large-scale paper works, my practice includes mixed media pieces on panel. Inspired by weather, nature, bodies of water, fire and smoke, these are created from repurposed monotype remnants, acrylic, and ink. While my installations are temporary and ever-changing, these collages contain the materials in a more permanent form. In these works, the shifting elements--water, fire, mist, and air--are held for a moment in time. 

Tomorrow's Storm

 

The 2023 installation "Tomorrow's Storm" was inspired by the idiom "red sky in the morning, sailors take warning," and driven by a fear of future unpredictable storms. This temporary installation in Baltimore's Innovation Center was impacted by the shifting light throughout the day: the reds of the translucent window panel were more evident in the morning, while the dark values in the piece became more prominent by mid-day. By early evening, the intense late-day window light broke through all layers of this immersive installation. Ultimately, "Tomorrow's Storm" reflected a balance of apprehension and hope.

Excerpt from a recent review of the group exhibition, "The Foundations of What" on BMoreArt

 

"Caryn Martin's “Slipstream II” approaches environmental themes with a different material sense, a site specific work built from repurposed ink monotypes on tracing paper. I’m captivated by how it extends from the floor to the ceiling towering above the viewer and occupying space yet remaining weightless. Its sky blue and gray tones remind me of icebergs and streams, combined with the delicate nature of paper and its ability to be crumpled calls to mind the fragility of the ice caps. Meanwhile, the use of tracing paper implies residue, tracks and the effects of our existence on the ecosystem. Martin’s materials have a formless yet vessel-like quality, and the sculpture holds a second view when the gallery lights are turned off and the central lamp illuminates it from within." 

Fanni Somogyi

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