Journal Archives,Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts Archives,Reviews
Martha Zelt: Recent Work
October 30, 1988
"With a knowing eye, Zelt assembles a rich range of materials which are varied in texture and hue."
October 30, 1987 through January 3,1988
A Pennsylvanian by birth, Martha Zelt attended the Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts, where she was awarded the Cresson and Schiedt Traveling Scholarships. A recipient of three Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts’ Fellowship awards, she has shown in galleries and museums throughout the United States. Her work is represented in the collection of the Academy of the Fine Arts as well as that of The Brooklyn Museum of Art, Princeton University, and Yale University. Much of the handmade paper used for the constructions on view in the Morris Gallery was made during a residency at the Tamarind Institute, New Mexico. A former Academy faculty member, she is currently chairman of the Visual Arts Department at Virginia Intermont College.
Martha Zelt’s bold mixed-media constructions only partially reveal her training as a printmaker. Using deckled handmade paper and strips of brightly colored fabric, she combines such techniques as collography, woodcutting, and etching with acrylic paint and machine stitches. Some pieces of the handformed paper are as brittle and dry as parchment paper, while others have the softness and the density of felt. For added texture, Zelt intermittently sprinkles pieces of twine and glitter onto the paper when it is still wet She presses this paper directly on the etching plate or woodcutting block. The lush brown and ochre swirls, furrows, and ridges created by this technique call forth the New Mexican landscape — the orderly rows of cultivated fields, and the crags and fissures of canyons and buttes. These crusty, serrated surfaces are punctuated by whimsical bits of glitter and fake fur. As if startled by a breeze, pieces of twine and strips of bright orange, purple, and turquoise fabric flutter about the surface of her collages. Paths of machine stitching alternately streak and meander across the constructions. They crisscross the terrain, like roadways, leading us to this furrowed field or that gaping valley. With a knowing eye, Zelt assembles a rich range of materials which are varied in texture and hue. Maintaining a delicate and ethereal presence, her pieces seem to quiver nervously behind the glass.
Anne Classen Curatorial Assistant
All works courtesy of Dolan/Maxwell Gallery
Yellow Pipe Bag # 1, 1987 Lithographic monoprint with collage on Rives paper
Yellow Pipe Bag #2, 1987 Lithographic monoprint with collage on Rives paper
White Pipe Bag #2,1987 Lithographic monoprint with collage on Rives paper
White Pipe Bag #3, 1987 Lithographic monoprint with collage on Rives paper
Brown Pipe Bag #2, 1987 Lithographic monoprint with collage on Rives paper
1987 Virginia Intermont College, Bristol, Virginia
Selected Group Exhibitions 1980-82 International Conference of Hand Papermakers, Boston University, Boston, Massachusetts
A Tribute to The Print Club, Philadelphia Museum of Art, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania
New American Graphics II, Madison Art Center, Wisconsin (traveling)
Four Artists, Four Media, The Print Club, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania
1983-84 Printed by Women, Port of History Museum, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania
New Mexico. New Discoveries, Santa Fe Festival, New Mexico
One of a Kind, Maryland Institute (traveling)
Impressions I, Virginia Museum
New Ideas on Paper, Mead Art Museum, Amherst, Massachusetts
1985-87 Paper Now, Cleveland Museum of Art, Ohio
Atlanta College of Art, Georgia
Smith-Anderson Gallery, Palo Alto, California
Tamarind 25th Anniversary, Albuquerque, New Mexico
Philadelphia College of Art (traveling in China)
Over the Blue Ridge, 11, Roanoke Museum, Virginia
The Morris Gallery displays the work of outstanding contemporary artists with a connection to Philadelphia, determined by birth, schooling, or residence. The exhibitions are chosen by a committee composed of area artists, museum personnel, and collectors, and the curatorial staff of the Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts. Currently serving on the Morris Gallery Exhibition Committee are: Moe Brooker, Paolo Colombo, Bill Freeland, Faith Ginsburg, Carrie Rickey, Eileen Rosenau, Judith Tannenbaum; Academy staff Judith Stein, Morris Gallery Coordinator, Frank H. Goodyear, Jr., and Linda Bantel.