May 31, 2019
Just as the act of making music is a live one, immersive and all encompassing in a venue like the Leith Theatre, so visual artists at Hidden Door undergo a process of planning, creating and installing their works though this pro-cess is often little documented in comparison to their musical counterparts.
Disclosing the process behind their projects three artists – Henry Martin, Jill Martin Boualaxai, and Jenny Martin create works borne of reflective and ongoing processes involving craftsmanship in wood, found materials, pencil and metal to name but a few.
Through a variety of practice, optical, musical and experimental means, Henry carefully controls perspective lines, focus, shadow and colour creating a sort of alternate logic of pattern contradicting the existing space whilst being supported by it. Henry’s practice is underpinned by the solicitations of buildings, the visual lines, vistas and surfac-es which have emerged as specific sites have aged mediating between actual and fictional space.
Henry gathers materials from all sorts of places, mostly paper or wood, mostly discarded or overlooked things which have finished their original use. These materials have a shared quality of a sort of anonymity or having lost their context or meaning. What remains is their material qualities: colour, form and texture obviously, but also their references, associations and apparent meanings. Henry attempts to put these scraps and fragments together and let these qualities begin to make references together. A dialogue begins on the basis of material, image or object, and new, unexpected meanings emerge. These are small and simple associations, from the leftovers, and will sug-gest different meanings to different people.
Wood is a material which holds marks and takes on character from its use in a way which is more or less innocent. The wooden pieces in Henry’s installation come from two sources: a rotting pine tree where the knots are all that remain, and the step to a derelict school. These are a starting point much like the collage materials: odd forms missing their context but with new possibilities. The gold leaf and bronze casts are just ways of stopping the pro-cesses of these materials for a time, and looking at their qualities just as they are.
Working across mediums, contexts and subject matter Jill’s work is rooted in the fundamentals of archeological storytelling and the myths and actualities that pervade abandoned and derelict spaces.
Using copper as an experimental drawing material, Jill combines this metal with chemicals such as ammonia to create weathering and patination, oxidising the metal to create unpredictable results. The drawing marks are creat-ed by dipping objects into various solutions such as salt and brass polish before placing them on the copper to print an impression of themselves. The resulting colour varying depending on the substance and strength of the solution.
Jenny is a printmaker who creates multi-layered, jewel-like screen prints. Her work is heavily influenced by travels including visits to Pompeii and India. Her prints are very much borne of an intensive research period, filling sketch-books with colour studies, notes and photographic imagery which is then used to create each layer in the print.
Her practice has evolved through mediums but has been rooted in the fundamentals of screen printing. A process whereby images are made by blocking areas of the screen mesh with stencils. To print, ink is pushed through the mesh with a tool known as a squeegee.
When roaming through the corridors and hidden spaces of the Leith Theatre, consider the craft behind the creation, with each work acting as a receptor surface on which environments are examined, craftsmanship exercised and stories unfurled.