Main Gallery Exhibition
February 2nd – March 27th
February 2nd from 6-9 PM
In Long Overdue, Traci Wright Martin and Michelle Radford underscore the importance of recognizing and acknowledging women’s contributions. Traci Wright Martin’s charcoal and mixed media series, “Art Herstory and the Moth,” focuses on underrepresented women in art history, paying tribute to them through visual quotations and symbolism. Michelle Radford highlights the historical oversight of women’s textile work and aims to bring recognition to their innovative designs as valuable artistic expressions.
Both artists challenge traditional perceptions of gender norms, albeit in different contexts. Wright Martin challenges the overshadowing of female artists in art history by drawing a parallel to imagery of moths. Often an overlooked organism, the moth in Martin’s work symbolizes the need for representation of the feminine art experience. Meanwhile, Radford challenges distinctions between art and craft, conceptual and decorative, urging viewers to reconsider their attitudes toward women’s stitchwork and handicrafts.
About the Artists
michelle berg radford
Michelle Berg Radford is a multi-disciplinary artist working at the intersection of women’s craft and what is considered “fine art painting.” Michelle earned an MFA from the Savannah College of Art and Design where she studied landscape painting and fiber arts. Michelle is also an educator with 16 years of teaching experience in higher education.
For millennia, women have expressed their creativity and skill in clothing their families and
caring for their private spaces through textiles. Their innovative designs have often been
overlooked as art, but are now slowly being recognized for the innovative and insightful
works that they are.
In this work, I join women’s handicrafts with landscape painting, a well-trodden genre in art, to introduce a new way of looking at both. These pieces begin as flat canvas studio paintings which I then fold and stitch to create dimensional smocked paintings. I borrow a time-honored heirloom sewing technique traditionally employed by women to construct garments and translate it through scale into contemporary sculptural paintings. By
presenting these works in a gallery setting in which fine art is viewed, the viewer is called to
acknowledge women’s stitch-work as valuable expressions of the maker and to question their own attitudes about the common distinctions between art versus craft, skilled versus
unskilled, conceptual versus decorative, and fine versus ordinary.
In the process a substantial portion of the painting is hidden, an apt metaphor for the
hiddenness of much of women’s valuable work of caring.
traci Wright Martin
Traci Wright Martin is an award-winning charcoal and mixed media artist. The overall narrative in her portrait and figurative work addresses the idea of representation, weaving contemporary realism with abstract design elements. Her pioneering approach to mixed media utilizes charcoal as the foundation and brings in various combinations of paint, patterned paper collage and other experimental techniques to the finished design. The primary thematic focus in Martin’s work is the legacy and evolution of the female experience and its influence on artmaking and cultural traditions. She ties an autobiographical visual philosophy to the broader, shared human experience through symbolic elements of nature in a unique, yet relatable style.
After graduating with a BA in Art from Southeastern Oklahoma State University, she spent her early career showing extensively in the Oklahoma and Texas art scenes, with artist teaching residencies in Oklahoma, Arizona and Alaska. Solo and group shows have included the Oklahoma State Capitol gallery, Oklahoma Contemporary, The Charles B. Goddard Center, IAO Gallery, 33 Contemporary Gallery in Chicago, the Wausau Museum of Contemporary Art, Brookgreen Gardens Museum, The Grand Bohemian Gallery, and both the Equity Gallery and the Salmagundi Club in New York City. She has received numerous awards and top accolades in international, national and regional juried shows, claiming multiple “Best in Show” titles. Her work has been featured in a number of publications including Fine Art Connoisseur, Artist’s Network: Best of Drawing, American Art Collector, International Artist, Pastel Journal, New Visionary Artist Magazine, and a selection of titles for PoetsArtists. Martin’s first book, a retrospective of her work entitled “North/South”, is being published in 2024 by Snap Collective in Copenhagen, Denmark.
For any artwork purchase inquiries, please visit the gallery during regular business hours or contact Gallery Director, Ben Tarcson for more information.