somewhere between royalty and rubbish: Art by Barbara Martin

Artist reception: Friday, July 9, 6-8 p.m.
“I believe everything that has ever been handmade or manufactured eventually becomes either rubbish or is revered. Our response to these ‘things’ says a lot about us. It reflects who we are and what we have become. I collect rubbish, reclaim, and reconfigure it to reflect on the world around me, to find reason, to remember, and to contemplate what we revere. Although my art takes many different forms, including realistic representation, and abstract collage and assemblage, I am always exploring the concept of reverence. To me, rubbish is a collection of historical and cultural artifacts that sheds light on the human condition. My collage and assemblage work is ongoing, but I also began working on scratchboard just before the COVID-19 crisis. Scratchboard is a process whereby the surface of a black board is scratched off to produce an image. My scratchboard ‘portraits,’ mostly of birds, are presented in vintage, cast-off frames. Despite their ages and poor condition, the frames elevate the bird’s stature. Many birds sport crowns on their heads. They are meant to be humorous, but also to remind us of the reverence we have paid and continue to pay to royalty and those in our society deemed worthy of a portrait. Perhaps they also point to something a bit more worthy of our awe, the natural world around us.” — Barbara Martin
Despite being a senior citizen, Barbara Martin sees herself as a new, emerging fine artist. After a fifteen-year stint as a graphic designer in both New York City and Dayton, Ohio, she devoted her life to raising her children and teaching special education and art. After 27 years, she retired from teaching and moved north to Mentor, Ohio. Since then, her focus has been on creating, what she hopes, is thought-provoking art.
Barbara has a Bachelor of Fine Arts (BFA) degree in painting and a master’s degree (MEd) in education. She was also National Board Certified to teach art K-8. Barbara’s work has been exhibited in numerous galleries in the Dayton and Cleveland areas. Her work encompasses a variety of media, from conceptual collage and assemblage pieces to realistic scratchboard “portraits” of birds. Please visit her website,, to see more of her work.