Optimism by Martha Elmes

Optimism by Martha Elmes

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Martha is an Artist and Art Educator with a BA from St. Lawrence University and a MA in FineArts and Education from Lesley University. She is a longtime Adjunct Art Faculty at Lyndon State College and past resident at the Vermont Studio Center. She taught Art in area schools for over 40 years. She is now repurposed as a paper artist and painter. Martha has exhibited in many Vermont galleries,  including Burlington's Flynn Theater for Discover Jazz commemorating Miles Davis and the music of "BitchesBrew", The WREN, Art Hop SEABA gallery, and the "Arts Connects"  Juried show at Catamount Arts. 

Artist Statement:

I have always loved paper and a good, sharp pair of scissors. I have been an Art Educator for more than 40 years. Making the school exhibitions with varieties of paper and kids artwork delighted my students and community. I had no limits. Repurposed, I now continue my love of paper-cutting, often incorporating cast off student work into my designs. Adding these forgotten artworks into my compositions is common. Using scraps leftover from my teaching years adds an idiosyncratic winsomeness to my work.

I create stories out of paper. I do not draw the image first.  The ideas evolve as my scissors start to move across it. Just staring at these flat, cut characters inspires me. I will picture an idea in my head as I study the paper. I will visualize the entire image as I cut. It is as if the paper has been saving what it needs to say for me to discover.  I am never sure what the paper will give me but haven't been disappointed yet. I combine these cuts in elaborate organic designs becoming aware of the layering and interplay of shape and color. 

Sometimes my inspiration comes from the music that I am listening to at the time. Dancers or movement across the panels while layering and arranging the cuts emphasize the messages I hope to convey. Sometimes, I am confronted by issues that provoke me.  My inspiration can come from an everyday event or just the simplicity of an animal's shape or human characteristic. 

My arrangements are schematic, inviting the viewer to wonder and use their imaginative faculties.