Of Words and Trees | wisconsinacademy.org
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Of Words and Trees

A Collaboration with My Father
Madeline Grace Martin, Once Something is on a List it’s Not So Easy to Lose (detail), 2023. Installation of hand-cut paper, approx. 120 x 72 in.

A portrait painter and multidisciplinary artist, Madeline Grace Martin honors the lives of community members and family in her work. For this exhibition, Martin builds upon the work that her father began, creating visual art to accompany his writing. This new body of work reflects upon the roles Peter Martin occupied, as a father, husband, boxer, writer, social worker, teacher, and planter of trees.

Created in a rich variety of media, Martin’s artwork gives new life to her father’s words. Several pieces, made by cutting the titles of his poems and stories out of black paper, curve and spin delicately in space, suggesting the inexact quality of memory. Mandalas of pinecone scales collected from the trees he planted radiate in circles, the ripples and currents offering evidence of his once physical presence.

“This show is a visual representation of healing and mystery, of asking questions that may not have conclusive answers,” writes Martin. “How do we repay our elders? How do we honor our parents? How do we stay connected to those who have died? Can art-making heal loss?”


Madeline Grace Martin (Milwaukee) is an artist and educator. She creates work using watercolor, embroidery, pencil drawings, and hand-cut paper to honor intergenerational and community stories.

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