AC [Direct] II features the installation Untitled Abstract No. 3 by Mary Ivy Martin. For Martin, absence and presence are important elements in her work, both literally and figuratively. Whether this presence is site-specific or metaphysical, it leads her to ask: What is missing in her life? How do we deal with the complexity of contemporary life? How do we relate to our surroundings and the natural world? How do our experiences differ? To expand on these questions Martin collects objects that are often walked over, passed by and taken for granted. As such, extracting these objects from their element draws attention to their own inherent history and meaning. Through the processes of collection and installation, the artist creates new relationships between familiar objects, the installation space and the viewer, thereby reanimating the objects. Moreover, grids, binding techniques, landscaping and placement are tools used to impose an unexpected or “un-natural” order upon the materials.
Untitled Abstract No. 3 demonstrates Martin’s current work with natural materials such as grass and dried leaves, which conjure up a sense of nostalgia and longing within herself. The act of working with these materials addresses her heightened awareness of a certain disconnect with nature as a resident of New York City, while also alluding to contemporary movements of environmentalism, ecological art and a rebellion against the electronic age. The materials work as a kind of gateway for the artist to explore their rich histories, contexts, complexities and questions. As with Untitled Abstract No. 3, Martin’s work challenges the boundaries between indoors and outdoors as she re-evaluates the role of nature in daily life.
A multi-faceted painter, photographer and installation artist, Mary Ivy Martin is based in New York City and works with natural materials in an effort to confront a sense of detachment with nature in daily life. She studied photography at the University of Arizona, where she began to work with organic forms. Residency programs such as Art Farm in rural Nebraska and Sproutbau taking place within a reclaimed housing project in Bremen (Germany) have provided an essential escape from a highly urban atmosphere and have fostered her interest in sustainability and communal environments.