Finding a Place in Art
“My first inspiration for paintings came from the rough old alleys of Vancouver’s east side,” says Martha Jablonski Jones, “I loved the rich colours, the textures that come from wear and tear on older building materials like brick and wood, and the imprint of time and human occupation. I think what I really liked was the feeling of age and history; you could sense that people had been here and occupied spaces, so there was feeling as well as visual impact.”
Martha’s collection of work at the Red Art Gallery is a map of her travels from the United States and back, encompassing the excitement of arriving at new places and the humour that comes with a long day of travelling. Catching “the imprint of time and human occupation” with warm colours and whimsical figures, she communicates the different paces of lifestyle in her stops along North America with ease.
The Canadian artist ventured away from her east side studio in Vancouver some time ago to see a different kind of ‘old’ in Austin, Texas. Martha recalls, “Here was a mecca of vintage Americana: old gas stations, diners, funky neon signage, and a slower, easier way of moving.” The colours used in If We Never Meet Again are warmer than those used in Afterglow, invoking a sense of nostalgia alongside the words within the image.
Returning to Canada, Martha applied these ideas and techniques to her local environment. “Victoria, of course, is filled with the wonderful textures of history,” says Martha, “Sometimes by inserting animals into the image, it would add some humour or even give a double meaning to the picture.” A few resident rabbits debate the road ahead in Who’s Got the Map.
“I’ve ventured into abstract, figurative, and other genres,” muses Martha, “but what I always come back to is what’s around me: an urban landscape that somehow imprints our human experience onto the flow of time.”