About Viv Martin
There are some consistent themes running through my work. What I see often surprises me and it may take a few moments before I sort out where to focus. For example, I might be looking through a window and see not only what is on the other side, but what is behind me and reflected, maybe also what is between me and the window. If I am looking at a landscape I might see unexpected colours or find that my eyes follow the shadows and shapes so that I wonder what is hidden rather than what I can easily see. At ancient historical sites I find I am thinking about the stories I’ve heard about it and the generations of people who have lived there and visited, including myself as a contemporary visitor.
I am often drawn to places that have been respected for their spiritual qualities since prehistoric times, places that often raise questions about how our lives are lived and how much things have really changed. I work from visual elements, using what I see, but I also often include something of my sensed and understood experience, focusing on what makes being in that place meaningful for me. Consequently a work might include references to a landscape setting, structures and objects, myself and other people, stories or words associated with the place. The choices I make about where to be enable me to make my art, although 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 the complexity I experience.
For me, art is about ideas that are understood and expressed visually. The images are the language. As in any other aspect of life, not everyone speaks or understands the same language, therefore any attempt at communication is complex. Although communication with an audience is important to me, I enjoy ambiguity and I recognise that different interpretations of my work are likely to be made. For me, success lies in attracting interest and retaining it for a while, engaging others through my art in contemplating visual ideas.
I have become interested in the layering that reflects the development of a work and leaves a trail of evidence. Instead of covering previous stages I like to leave evidence of changes and additions, showing overlaps, relationships, references and reflections, recording a history of how the work was made and how it relates to a body of work. There is an undercurrent of intent, that seeds and sediments the work with evidence of my intentions in its making. This rich approach incorporates respect for materials and process in an evidence trail that demonstrates the uniqueness and authenticity in each work.
I was born in Brighton and have mostly lived in that area. I studied at Bath Academy of Art, Corsham, between 1966 and 1971 (I was Viv Mason then), completing a Diploma in Art and Design in Sculpture, Painting and Printmaking. I moved to Goldsmiths College, London, completing an Art Teachers Certificate (with distinction) in 1972. At this time, I began to travel widely, and won several travel scholarships in 1970/71, which enabled me to travel to Paris, Egypt and Greece. Since then, travel has been important in my work and it continues to provide challenge and refreshment.
I taught art in schools, in Adult Education and Further Education, gradually developing a balance between work in education and more personal work as an artist. I married another artist, Paul Martin, in 1981 and since then we have shown our work together as Martin Studios in Open Studio events and our own studio/galleries. My education roles expanded to include management and professional development and I held senior posts in the NHS, the Open University, the University of Chichester and the University of Brighton, but always kept time for my art practice. I have published seven books and a range of articles related to managing services and projects, my first art book about my monotype series ‘The Goddess’ and I am now developing books connected with my art projects.
Through the 1970s to about 2006 I made paintings, etchings and relief prints. I expanded my range of printmaking, joining Brighton Independent Printmakers in 2007 and Inkspot Printmaking Workshop in 2010. I completed an MA in Fine Art at Chichester in 2010, which helped me to be more experimental and to use a wider range of media. A workshop with the American Master Printmaker Ron Pokrasso introduced me to a very flexible way of making monotypes, which I’ve developed and refined, working regularly with him and other USA artists in a Florence printmaking workshop. Most of my recent work has been multimedia, including monotype and other printmaking techniques, (etching, screenprint, woodcut and other relief methods). I am now a full-time artist, living and working in Cornwall.
2010 MA in Fine Art (University of Chichester)
1998 PhD (University of Surrey)
1992 MBA (Open University)
1984 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
1972 Art Teachers Certificate (Distinction), Goldsmiths College, University of London.
1971 Diploma in Art and Design (Sculpture, Painting, Printmaking, History of Art), Bath Academy of Art, Corsham, Wilts
Martin Studios has held Open Studio events nearly every year since the early 1980s, in Brighton until 2014 and then in Worthing. Viv’s work has also been shown in various other settings:
2019 Martin Studios Art Gallery Summer Exhibition
2019 SRISA, Via Santa Reparata, Florence, mixed printmakers exhibition
2018 Fish Factory as part of Worthing Artists Open Houses
2016 Martin Studios Art Gallery Christmas Exhibition
2016 Fish Factory, Worthing, BN14 Studios Exhibition
2015 Brighton Art Fair, Corn Exchange, Brighton
2015 Contributor to ‘The Matchbox Museum’ at Bath Spa University.
2014 Fish Factory, Worthing, Collaborative Fish Factory Floor Project Exhibition.
2014 Opened a studio/gallery, Martin Studios in Worthing, with regular exhibitions.
2013 David Lloyd Leisure Centre, exhibition with Martin Studios
2012 – 14 Exhibited with Art on the Pier, Creative Waves, Worthing.
2010 – 12 Worthing Artists Pop-up shop
2010/11 Affordable Art Fair, Battersea, London (with Brighton Independent Printmaking)
2010 Phoenix Art Studios, Brighton, collaboration with Stefan Hoffman, artist in residence
2010 Palace Art Fair, Fulham, London (with Ink Spot Press, Brighton.
2010 Brighton Art Fair with Ink Spot Press, Brighton
2010 MA Exhibition, artOne, Chichester University
2010 ‘Parameters’, Otter Gallery, Chichester (group exhibition)
2009 – 17 Fish Factory, Worthing, annual Martin Studios Exhibitions.
2009 Brighton Independent Printmaking, Brighton Festival Exhibition, May
2009 Fishing Museum Gallery, Brighton (group exhibition with Brighton Independent Printmaking)
2008 Fishing Museum Gallery, Brighton (group exhibition with Brighton Independent Printmaking)
2008 Affordable Art Fair, Battersea, London (group exhibition with Brighton Independent Printmaking)
2006 Spring Fair, National Exhibition Centre, Birmingham
2006 St Mary de Haura, Shoreham, Adur Festival Exhibition
2006 Islington Contemporary Art and Design Fair, Candid Arts Galleries, London.
2005 Brighton Art Fair (with Archipelago Gallery)
1999 ‘Fiveways Artists Group Retrospective’, University of Brighton Gallery
1999/2001 Sussex Artists, St Leonards, Mayfield, The Old Palace
1999 Indian Kings Arts Centre, Camelford, Cornwall (mixed exhibition)
1990 ‘Art at Work’ in the Royal Bank of Scotland and Liberty’s Brighton
1988/9 ‘Fiveways Open Houses’, Brighton Festival (joint winner ZAP Club award for Visual Arts)
1986 Harvey Road Gallery, Guildford (joint exhibition with Paul Martin)
1985 Mixed Exhibition, Ayling Porteus Gallery, Chester
1984 Brighton and Hove Public Library and Art Gallery (joint exhibition with Paul Martin)
1984 Selected and published in annual Laing Calendar
1983 Laing Calendar Competition Exhibition, Mall Galleries, London.
1983 Royal Society of British Artists, Mall Galleries, London.