John Martin: Multi-tools

Institute 193 is pleased to present an exhibition of painted wooden sculptures by the Oakland-based artist John Martin.

A Mississippi native, John Martin lives in Oakland, California, where he works with Creative Growth Art Center, an organization that serves adult artists with developmental, mental, and physical disabilities. We’re thrilled to welcome Tom di Maria, the founder of Creative Growth, to Lexington for the opening reception September 5.

Multi-tools is presented in collaboration with Creative Growth Art Center. In fact, it is one of two exhibitions of Creative Growth artists on view in Kentucky in September 2013: the exhibition Creative Growth: Dan Miller & Judith Scott (curated by Matthew Higgs) will be on display at the Kentucky Museum of Art and Craft in Louisville, KY from September 7 to November 3.

John Martin assembles his sculptures from wood scraps that he covers in thick layers of bright paint. These sculptures depict men, animals, and automobiles configured into folding shapes that often resemble Swiss Army knives: a wolf crouches inside a lighter, a knife with many appendages squats like a small dinosaur, a garish pink flamingo rises out of the head of a man wearing sunglasses. Martin’s unusual juxtapositions imbue prosaic imagery gleaned from pop culture—fast food advertising, the Transformers film franchise—with whimsy and unexpected humor.

In recent years, Institute 193 has worked closely with Latitude Artist Community, a Lexington-based organization similar to Creative Growth, that provides disabled artists with opportunities to contribute culturally and politically to the life of their communities.  UK Arts in Healthcare–in collaboration with March Projects–has organized an exhibition of work currently on view at the University of Kentucky’s Chandler Hospital that celebrates the last 12 years of Latitude’s programming.

Institute 193 hopes that all of these concurrent exhibitions can contribute to a broader discussion about the ways in which disabled people can contribute to society at large–as artists and as citizens.

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