My work is concerned with human geography and the way that social and political life affects the landscape. My practice is less concerned with developing technical skill than in increasing my ability to be present, in order to convey the experience of being in a place, not merely the way it looks.
This exhibition combines two connected bodies of work that map the domestic space of my family on the brink of transformation.
I, Huck (2012), articulates the landscape of the experience of knowing my adult son, Gabe, who is disabled and requires constant care. Gabe collects analog audio technology and listens to several recorded versions of Huckleberry Finn. He likes to call himself 'Huck.' It's an expression of his pride that allows his spirit to expand. Perhaps he identifies with Huck Finn's particular combination of innocence and intelligence.
Gabe is a pioneer of inclusion. He can never be alone and for his whole life I have advocated for safe and secure support to prevent his institutionalization. I began these paintings in a deliberate attempt to use my painting practice as a means to focus in on resolving his situation of underfunded attendant care. The process allowed me to be available during studio hours to his advocacy and to access my creativity in this pursuit.
My Space (2014), is a series of paintings of my own personal landscape. This space, between my skin and the outside world, while it is where I work and relax, is also saturated with the relentless and mind numbing advocacy tasks for Gabe's support. During the four years of production of these two bodies of work the advocacy continued to produce no results. But some alchemy was at work below the surface, because the opening of My Space at Loop Gallery, Toronto in April of 2014 coincided with an announcement of new funding for Gabe's full time support. I am no longer a caregiver. This work marks the transformation to a new and autonomous relationship with my son. The outcome of the time spent making these two bodies of work is our dream of a good life coming true.
Martha Eleen 2015
MARTHA ELEEN AT LOOP GALLERY by R.M. VAUGHAN (THE GLOBE AND MAIL, JANUARY 14, 2012)
THE GABE ETCHINGS by GARY MICHAEL DAULT (THE GLOBE AND MAIL, JUNE 7, 2008)
RICHARD AND POOR BOY by DANA MILLS