martha rich mixed media paintings

posted by the scholar on January 25th, 2008
filed under: art, paintings

i just saw these fantastic paintings on the sfgirlbybay blog and had to write about them immediately. they’re part of the painting a day exercise california artist martha rich has just wrapped up, called freedomwig. martha has created a collection of acrylic, collage, ink and pencil pieces that have consistent underlying themes of insecurity, the trends people follow to achieve acceptance and the ultimate disappointment that occurs once they realize how absurd it all is. according to martha, the series is inspired by “all the ads we see during our lives informing us of the bad smells we make, our lack of prettiness, that we are too fat, and all our flaws that will cause others to like us less.” wow.










as a child, martha worked as a television and print ad model. the rediscovery one of her old j.c. penney shoots lead to her obsession with vintage department store catalogs from the 60’s and 70’s, as well as her signature style: an imperfect interpretation of all those stiff model poses, undergarments and beauty products found in the pages of those wishbooks from days gone by.

i love these works. i simply love them. the naive style, the stylish motifs that salute previous eras, the layers and expression, the sweet feminine palettes that belie a message that a lot of people don’t want to see or hear. these are strong statements to stand up and make in a world where superficiality, quick fixes and the next best thing abounds. but the hook is here and holds you because martha isn’t preachy about what she is trying to get across. the positive, affirming message of seeing the value in just being yourself comes through loud and clear. and that is music to my ears.

these pieces are in an exhibit which has been extended over at the la luz de jesus gallery in los angeles through january 27 (hurry!). check out what is still available here, read the rest of the sf girl’s blog post here and while we’re at it let’s not leave martha’s main website or freedomwig site out either!

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