Martin Studios: Paul and Vivien Martin
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Viv Martin: Fragmentation (Detail)
My Florence
Prehistoric Caves
Flower Power

South Downs

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About Viv Martin

Artist's Statement

Career Summary

Artist's Statement
My work has always reflected both my surroundings and the ways in which I view the world around me. The choices I have made about where to be and what roles to take have enabled me to engage with the world in many ways and I am aware that by simply being in any context I have an impact on it and it on me. Making art helps me to make meaning from complexity.

For me, art is about ideas that are understood and expressed visually. The images and the media and forms which manifest the images are the language. As in any other aspect of life, not everyone speaks or understands the same language. Even if they think they do, everyone forms views from an individual perspective, making communication complex. In addition, I recognise the temporary nature of knowledge and the speed with which a new concept can challenge or replace what we used to believe were certainties. In making art, I am firstly concerned with embodying an idea or relationship between ideas. I try to make the focus explicit and to accept a degree of ambiguity in the less focal areas. Although communication with an audience is important to me, I expect that everyone will make their own interpretation of my work and that different interpretations are likely to be made both of what I had thought was explicit and of the ambiguity. For me, success lies in attracting interest and retaining it for a while, engaging others through my art in contemplating visual ideas. About Viv Martin

I have become interested in the layering that reflects the development of a work and the possibility of leaving a trail of evidence visible through the layers, showing overlaps and relationships, development of meaning, cross-references and reflections – the history of the making of the work. This referencing may also be between works and part of positioning the work in its context, both physically and in meaning making, relating each work as part of a body of work. This is a much richer approach than the more traditional ‘truth to materials’ approach, but incorporates a respect for materials and process in the evidence trail. This idea also builds on earlier ideas of uniqueness and authenticity, by simultaneously demonstrating the essential core of the work with its layers of development. These ideas also link with a sense of time in developing meaning in a work, making visible and enabling meaning to be revealed. This process helps to develop an undercurrent of intent, seeding and sedimenting the work with evidence of the intentions in its making. Where I used to feel that when a work was finished that there was little or nothing more to work on, I now feel that finishing a work is achieving a temporary balance rather than making a definitive or lasting statement. I also used to avoid ambiguity, thinking that a work could not be finished until it made its point, clearly and unambiguously. Now I recognise that ambiguity is, in itself, a statement about the meaning in a work, revealing areas that are unresolved and might be revisited and reconsidered at a later date.

My work often begins with the experience of being drawn to a place, often places that have attracted people over very long periods of time, stretching back to pre-historic times. I am interested in the moment when we see or perceive a situation in a way that brings an insight or makes a profound meaning. I bring together some elements of the visual experience but also something of the sensed and understood experience, focusing on what made it meaningful for me. Consequently a work might include references to a landscape setting, structures and objects placed there, myself and/or other people, stories or words associated with a place or event and atmospheres or feelings sensed there. Sometimes this has a strong narrative flavour with references to progression over time rather than one moment of awareness. Sometimes there is a focus on one element or aspect, something noticed that forms the beginning of a series of works, for example, the hydrangea head that began my ‘Flower Power’ series.

I have often used printmaking to refresh my work or to try out an idea with a different approach, but recently printmaking has become central to my practice.  Printmakers always work with a tension between materials and techniques and the subject matter that is the focus of the work. In printmaking, new materials have been introduced to replace traditional ones that are more dangerous to use, and alongside this revision of practice there has been a development of new ways of thinking about the opportunities offered by printmaking. This has challenged the traditional but increasingly restrictive practices that had become commonplace as the market for original prints developed, bringing expectations of editioning and use of traditional methods of making and presenting. I have been influenced by Jim Dine’s prints (2009) and his approach to printmaking – his practice has spanned several decades and he has developed an experimental multi-media approach that is large scale but with detail and has texture and strong colour. His combinations of etching with woodcut and screenprint are particularly interesting as they challenge the traditionally claimed unique characteristics of each medium; for example, the plate edge mark of the etching, which would normally be considered important by etchers, may be lost in the layers of working.

I am particularly interested in the relief qualities offered by etching, relief printing and collagraphy. My etching has always emphasised relief and emboss. I was amazed by Howard Hodgkin’s recent series of large etchings, ‘As Time Goes By’ and the earlier ‘Venetian’ series because of the combining of detailed lacy sugar-lift marks alongside very textural carborundum marks and flat, brightly coloured brush marks, all in unusually large-scale prints made from plates 5 feet high and assembled to comprise the etchings that were 20 feet long. I had always thought of etching as constrained by the size of the press bed and this work opened up new possibilities for me, both in use of several different types of materials together and in the possibility of assembling prints to make a larger whole.

Making woodcuts in Japanese plywood has reminded me of the sculptural quality of the carved block itself and the potential to use relief panels in a sculptural form alongside using them as blocks to make prints from.  I have been particularly interested in printmaking where deep relief is an essential part of the image, for example, Peter Ford’s prints of cut tree trunks, made with wet hand-made paper so that it moulds over the relief qualities of grains and splits in the wood. I also find Thomas Kilpper’s woodcut prints (2009) very interesting because of his use of large-scale blocks. Steve Mace’s long project (2009) exploring the Blue Circle cement works made very close associations between the uses of materials as sculpture and as blocks to print from, a direct way of working from experience in a specific setting. When a print embodies evidence of the ideas informing its development and processes that have contributed to making it visible, it holds the undercurrent of intention that enables conceptual meaning to be made from it.

Sandy Sykes has been an important influence because of her originality and flexibility in building up fragments and layers to develop work in a way that reflects a visual thinking process. I also gained a valuable insight from her use of books of ideas that bring together fragments and ideas that can be elements of a body of work and act as an on-going resource whilst developing all the pieces in that body of work, an approach that I now use myself.

Dine, J (on Alan Cristea Gallery website accessed 23 March 2009)
Ford, P (accessed 15 December 2009)
Hodgkin, H.
Kilpper, T. (accessed 23 March 2009)
Mace, S. (2009) ‘Blue Circle’ An exhibition of cement-based print work, University of Brighton, October/November 2009.

Sykes, S. (accessed 23 March 2009)

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Viv drawing in ProvenceBiography
Viv drawing in Provence (pictured right)

Viv Martin was born in Brighton and has mostly lived in that area. She studied at Bath Academy of Art, Corsham, between 1966 and 1971, completing a Diploma in Art and Design in Sculpture, Painting and Printmaking. She then moved to Goldsmiths College, London where she gained an Art Teachers Certificate (with distinction) in 1972. At this time, she began to travel widely, winning major travel scholarships in 1970/71 to Paris, Egypt and Greece. Since then, travel has been important in her work, particularly in aspects of contrasts between ancient and modern and the impact of contemporary visitors.

She taught art in schools and in adult education in East Sussex for twelve years, gradually developing a balance between work in education and more personal work as an artist. In partnership with Paul Martin she developed and ran a gallery for several years. Her work in education expanded to include management and professional development and she has worked in the NHS, the Open University, the University of Chichester and the University of Brighton, often in part-time posts or short contracts to allow time for art. She has published seven books and a range of articles related to managing services and projects.

Through the 1970s to about 2006 she made paintings, etchings and relief prints. She expanded her range of printmaking, joining Brighton Independent Printmakers in 2007 and Inkspot Printmaking Workshop in 2010. She also completed an MA in Fine Art at Chichester in 2010. Most of her recent work has been based on printmaking, using etching, screenprint, woodcut and other relief methods. She has been developing ways of working with mixed media and collage to create larger works alongside making prints in editions. Her ideas evolve from experience of places of special significance and people who visit these places, together with collection of rubbings, simple prints and pressed flowers and leaves. She continues to work part-time in the University of Brighton.

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2010 MA in Fine Art (University of Chichester)
1998 PhD (University of Surrey)
1992 MBA (Open University)

MSc (Educational Studies), University of Surrey, Guildford (part-time) in Adult and Continuing Education

1982 BA(Hons) Open University (part-time)
1977 City and Guilds 730 Further Education Teacher's Certificate

Art Teachers Certificate (Distinction), Goldsmiths College, University of London.  DES No. 71/93881


Diploma in Art and Design (Sculpture, Painting, Printmaking, History of Art), Bath Academy of Art, Corsham, Wilts

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Christmas Exhibition 2010

2010 Affordable Art Fair, Battersea, London (group exhibition with Brighton Independent Printmaking)
2010 Palace Art Fair, Fulham, London (group exhibition with Inkspot Press)
2010 MA Exhibition, artOne, University of Chichester
2010 Pop-up Artist’s Shop, Worthing
2010 Worthing Artists Open Houses Exhibition
2010 Collaborative printmaking project with Stefan Hoffman, exhibited in Hot Plate, the Phoenix Gallery, Brighton and in The Hague, Holland
2010 Otter Gallery, Chichester (small MA group exhibition)
2009 Brighton Independent Printmaking, Brighton Festival Exhibition, May
2009 Martin Studios: Worthing Open House Exhibition, July
2009 Fishing Museum Gallery, Brighton (group exhibition with Brighton Independent Printmaking)
2008 Martin Studios Open Studios, Worthing, Brighton Festival Artists Open Houses
2008 Fishing Museum Gallery, Brighton (group exhibition with Brighton Independent Printmaking)
2008 Affordable Art Fair, Battersea, London (group exhibition with Brighton Independent Printmaking)
2007 Martin Studios Open Studios, Worthing, Brighton Festival Fringe
2006 Spring Fair, National Exhibition Centre, Birmingham
2006 Martin Studios Open Studios, Worthing, Brighton Festival Fringe
2006 St Mary de Haura, Shoreham, Adur Festival Exhibition
2006 Islington Contemporary Art and Design Fair, Candid Arts Galleries (with Archipelago Gallery) London
2006 Artists Houses Open for Christmas, Worthing Art Trail
2005 Brighton Art Fair ( with Archipelago Gallery )
2004 Martin Studios Open Studios, Worthing
2001 Sussex Artists, St Leonards, Mayfield, The Old Palace
2000 Fiveways Artists Group Open House, Brighton Festival
1999 - 2003 Fiveways Artists Group Open House, Brighton Festival
1999 Fiveways Artists Group Open House Retrospective at the University of Brighton Gallery
1999 Sussex Artists, St Leonards, Mayfield, The Old Palace
1999 Mixed exhibition, Indian Kings Arts Centre, Camelford, Cornwall
1998 Fiveways Artists Open House, Brighton Festival
1997 Fiveways Artists Open House, Brighton Festival
Martin Studios Open Studios, Brighton Festival
1991 Open Studios (Fiveways Artists Group), Brighton Festival
1990 Art at Work in the Royal Bank of Scotland and Liberty’s Brighton
1991 Open Studios (Fiveways Artists Group), Brighton Festival
1990 Art at Work in the Royal Bank of Scotland and Liberty’s Brighton
1990 Open Studios (Fiveways Artists Group), Brighton Festival
1989 ‘Five at Fiveways’ Open Houses, Brighton Festival

‘Fiveways Open Houses’, Brighton Festival (joint winner of ZAP Club award for Visual Arts in Brighton Festival)

1986 Harvey Road Gallery, Guildford (joint exhibition with Paul Martin)
1986 Martin Studios Open Studios, Brighton Festival
1985 Mixed Exhibition, Ayling Porteus Gallery, Chester
1984 and Hove Public Library and Art Gallery (joint exhibition with Paul Martin)
1984 Published in Laing Calendar
1983 Laing Calendar Competition Exhibition, Mall Galleries, London (winner)
1983 United Society of Artists, Mall Galleries, London
1982/3 Martin Studios Gallery, Brighton (joint owner)
Organised and taught occasional Martin Studios Weekend courses in painting
Organised and taught annual Summer Schools alongside Summer Music at Bushey Park, Surrey

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Career Summary

2005 - Current Lecturer, University of Brighton. (part-time)
Head of the Centre for Collaborative Programmes, University College Chichester
Head of Strategic Initiatives, NHSU. Corporate University for the NHS; 88, Wood Street, London

Senior Lecturer, Open University


Director of Education, Salomons Centre, South Thames Regional Health Authority, National Health Service

Principal Lecturer, University of Brighton
1986 -

Concurrent part-time and short-term contract posts including teaching art and printmaking, developing trainers and assessors and some contracted research


Area Principal, Brighton Adult Education Service - East Sussex County Council, County Hall, Lewes

Teacher in schools and Adult Education tutor part-time and full-time
Head of Art Department, Henry Beaufort School, Winchester

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Articles and seminars

2010 Chapters in ‘Making Space for Creativity’, e-book published by University of Brighton
2008 Workshop ‘Reviving your creativity’ at CLT Conference, University of Brighton, July
2008 Seminar on Artists Open Houses, May 08, Creativity Centre, University of Brighton

Articles published on University of Brighton Creativity Centre website:
‘Thinking, Learning and Creativity’

‘Developing Vision’

Range of articles in health and social care journals covering personal development, change management, project management, leadership and teamworking

Range of papers published in academic journals covering adult learning, personal and professional development, partnership working and project management


2010 Managing in Health and Social Care’ (Second edition) with Euan Henderson and Julie Charlsworth. London, Routledge
2006 Managing Projects in HR, Training and Development’, London, Kogan Page. ISBN:0-7494-4479-7, pp 216
2004 Leading Interprofessional Teams in Health and Social care’. London, Routledge. Co-authored with Dr Anita Rogers. ISBN: 0-415-30794-5, pp186

Leading Change in Health and Social Care’. London, Routledge. ISBN:0-415-3-546-2, pp 186


Managing Projects in Health and Social Care’. London. Routledge. ISBN:0-415-27620-9, pp 189


'Managing in Health and Social Care' with Professor Euan Henderson. London.

OU / Routledge; co-published reader for B630 The Effective Manager. ISBN: 0-415-25190-7, pp350

Workshops that Work' co-authored book with Tom Bourner and Phil Race, Maidenhead, McGraw Hill (Training series). ISBN: 0-07-707800-4, pp209

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