While you’ll find quotes from reviews, catalogue essays as well as a few of my thoughts accompanying my bodies of work, here are some full length pieces whose authors and publishers have very kindly given permission for reproduction.
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Christine Conley. “The Emptiness of the Flesh.” Jane Martin: Gathie’s Cupboard 1988-1989. Eds. Michael Bell and Christine Conley. Carleton University Art Gallery, 1999.
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Jane Martin. “Something Happened.” Ars Medica. 4:2, 2008, pp.29-31 and front and back covers.
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Georgiana Uhlyarik. Writing in the catalogue for Drawing, Je t’aime: Selections from the AGO Vaults, the Art Gallery of Ontario, December 2015 – April 2016. She writes on pieces from Martin’s Something Happened series:
These are drawings of Polaroid photographs. In each, Jane Martin draws the whole object, including the discoloured paper frame that contains the central image. I see these as illuminations of a text that is missing. Something happened. We can all imagine what that something might be and how it might have ended. Life ends one way or another. This is one way.
The drawings retrace an intimate and painful passing. They are a love letter to a beloved. There is a story – a long marriage, a year of pain and loss, and then a choice. Jane Martin is remembering. She is drawing her beloved into art history, into the history of living and dying and witnessing and sharing. Something happened – and we can all imagine the details. They are real and recorded and absolute.
But something more happened. Something beyond the inevitable, that singular guarantee of passing, born astride a grave as we are. The years after Jane Martin took Polaroids of her beloved Ewen, she drew him into art history, into the history of art into that realm beyond our singularity. That place of connectivity, of shared consciousness, that place each one of us can feel that moment in which something happened. We got to know one another.
Here drawing is an act of breaking down. The bruising is pigment fragmented through the pressure of drawing. It leaves a mark, a speck, a smudge, a rubbing of the texture of the paperboard. Each distinct encounter between the soft pigment of the pencil and the stiff board is recorded – an amalgam of looking, remembering and mourning.
The Polaroid is evidence – evidence of being held, of a moment lived, recorded and then transformed and prolonged – made everlasting relived – redrawn, remembered.
Through the act of drawing, in this instance an act of love and loving, a couple’s pain is transformed so that we in turn can hold the pain and love. In this way we too can bear the weight of the unbearable lightness of being. We can bear the weight of the work of mourning.