Mark Metcalf

“The spiritual mechanism that enables art”

By - May 20th, 2010 04:00 am
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Massive, all-consuming found object installations have become a sort of signature for kathryn e. martin, in which she uses everyday sundries — like binder clips or in the case of Flotant, her exhibit at the John Michael Kohler Arts Center, about 50,000 styrofoam cups. In a process of continual deconstruction (and later, reconstruction), martin transforms banal objects and empty spaces into ethereal landscapes.

But she doesn’t want to create art to pay the bills. That’s not to say that she (and every artist, for that matter) doesn’t appreciate the marketplace for visual art, nor that she wouldn’t mind being paid to make art. It’s just that being paid for it isn’t the point.

“The reality is that [artists] do this because we love it,” she says, “and because we are the driving force, not because someone else tells us what to do and what to create.”

But then again, we all have to eat. When she’s not playing in her studio, martin teaches foundational courses at UWM and MIAD and also explores other avenues to support herself and her career. Shortly after being selected to the Wisconsin Percent for the Arts Mentor program, martin earned a second commission to create a permanent public art piece.

This week, she and Mark talk about creative compulsions (and why their fathers just don’t seem to understand it), making the transition to more permanent work and the sometimes tricky process of “getting the beans to your face.”

Listen now:

You can also subscribe to Backstage with Mark Metcalf through iTunes.

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