My name is Raewyn Martyn.

You can get in touch by emailing: raewyn.martyn@gmail.com

Bio and Statement

I grew up in the South Island of Aotearoa New Zealand and have a BFA Hons from Massey University School of Fine Arts in Wellington, New Zealand, and an MFA in Painting and Printmaking from VCUArts in Richmond, Virginia.

I make site-responsive paintings composed and recomposed during attentive occupation of sites or situations. These works change over time and challenge the conventional stability and temporality of painted surface, medium, and site. New forms and processes are grafted into the existing site guided by intuition, incident, or psychic and perceptive processes of attunement and calibration. Surfaces reproduce; layers of paint or cellulose medium become unstuck, material, and flexible or fluid. These transformations destabilize perceived boundaries and states: dimension, surface, ground, solid or liquid.

In analogy with processes of empathy, and geologic or social processes entropy, the peeling of layers results in reordering of surface relations. As the peeled paint folds back on itself, it becomes an inside-out painting; exposed and related in new ways. Its own history and composition opened and understood through its transition from flat surface to unstuck material. The delaminated paint can be rearranged in attempts to resist gravity, and for new composition to emerge.

I sometimes think of my interventions or installations as survivalist; not survivalist in a catastrophic sense, but in the sense that the subjective and intersubjective experience they produce survives exposure and absorption into social space. This work also seeks to understand how processes of entropy and empathy are intertwined within phenomenological experience. Our capacity to experience and understand entropy in the processes and ‘others’ around us, is entwined with our ability to deeply observe, and to experience empathy; to understand changes within and outside.

My current research project, at the Jan van Eyck Academy, develops use of methylcellulose as a medium. Cellulose is a plant-derived polymer that can carry pigment, and holds or releases form during phases of hydration, dehydration, and rehydration. Dried to a paint-like film, it can be peeled from non-porous surfaces, then re-moistened to become adhesive, or completely rehydrated to become fluid again. The adhesive film can graft back into surfaces or cast a molded skin or volume of a three-dimensional object. Within this cycle it exists in multiple states; liquid, surface, image, and three-dimensional object. Forms or images change as gravity and flow act within drying surfaces, as the impacts of shrinkage and rehydration concentrate the pigments; and through deliberative composition of layers. This is includes moments of entropy as the unstable material dries in conflicting layers, pulling itself apart as it shrinks, or responds to atmospheric conditions: light, humidity, heat, and air flow. The processes of entropy are complicated by the resilience of the medium and its ability to reabsorb liquid to become fluid again.

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