Craft Studio hosts new artists

Female artists showcase their work in Memorial Union.

A new exhibit will open Monday at the Craft Studio. The exhibit, "Mixed Media Works by Kelda Martensen," closes today and will be replaced by "Distant Proximities — Paintings by Elizabeth Snipes."

Martensen's exhibit, which began Aug. 24, showcases some of her most recent printmaking works. Although she enjoys working with drawing and collage, Martensen has a special affection for printmaking.

"Printmaking really speaks to me because of the building aspect involved," she said. "My father was a woodworker and I grew up in a woodshop. I think it was sort of a natural progression for me to use carving tools and building tools and put them to work on paper."

Martensen, who has practiced art her entire life, has been a professional artist since 2005. She described her creative process as very reactive and based off of her own experiences.

"I start with photographs from my actual experiences, draw them and use drafting tools," she said. "I work with the drafts and use digital images, wood blocks, collage, gold leaf and different types of paper. I don't have it all planned out before I start. I sort of begin with one step and then react to that and go from there."

Craft Studio Coordinator Kelsey Hammond, who chooses the artwork for the gallery, said she was drawn to the visually strong images in Martensen's pieces.

"There's a narrative quality to them which I think is interesting, and what she's doing physically with the surfaces of her pieces is interesting," she said. "I think it's really strong work."

Both Martensen and the next exhibitor, Elizabeth Snipes, originally applied to be part of a show at the gallery featuring women in the arts. After the exhibit was over, Hammond offered Martensen and Snipes the opportunity to be featured in their own shows.

The application process for artists who want to display their work in the gallery is generally very competitive, Hammond said.

Hammond is most likely to select artists who offer a cohesive body of work.

"I tend to not accept student work that looks like it was all made in each class they took," Hammond said. "It has to be well thought-out."

Student, local and national artists are all invited to apply for the chance to have their work displayed in the gallery.

Hammond chose Snipes' work to be featured because it includes visually interesting portraits of people. "I was just drawn to her work," Hammond said.

Snipes, a South Carolina native, works as an assistant art professor at Missouri State University. She said she is inspired primarily by relationships between people.

Although her attitudes toward her various pieces change constantly, she said a new series called Motherland 1,2,3 and 4 stands out as one of her favorites.

"At the moment, the newer works I did this summer using my mom as a model are really special to me," she said. "It's not just because of how they look, but also because I got to work with her."

Snipes is working on expanding the body of work she did this summer with her mother.

"I'm working with the people I know and love," she said.

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