Judith Martinez

Judith Martinez

Judith worked at the Powerhouse Museum and The Sydney Harbour Foreshore Authority as a graphic designer – designing exhibition graphics, public events creative, corporate branding and publications. She moved into an art director role for luxury jewellery brand Autore in 2013, where she was responsible for the company’s global advertising campaigns and promotional marketing materials. In 2005 she set up her own design and illustration practice in the Blue Mountains. She has been responsible for the creative for festivals and events in Sydney and designed graphic installations for The Rocks, National Parks & Wildlife, The Chinese Gardens and Australian Technology Park. Her design practice sees her create visual identities, publications, illustrations and environmental graphics. She has also guest lectured at Enmore Design Centre.

Judith started exhibiting her work in 2012 as part of The Blue Mountains Regent Honeyeater Project, a fundraising exhibition at the Blue Mountains International Hotel Management School, alongside Michael Mandelc and Michael Herron. She was subsequently commissioned to create a photographic installation, ‘The Unguarded Moment’ for the school’s formal restaurant.

In 2013, she was part of the group show 7 Illustrators at The Everglades, Leura, where she exhibited screen prints, collages and photo media works.

Judith was invited to be part of the Keepsake group exhibition at the Blue Mountains Cultural Centre (December 2013 to January 2014) and was one of the illustrators in the Exposé group show Black & Blue in 2014.

Her first picture book, The Empty Jar, (under the pseudonym Pablo Browne, alongside writer Craig Billingham) was launched at the Melbourne Writer’s Festival in 2014.

“Our lives are not our own. We are bound to others, past and present, and by each crime and every kindness, we birth our future.”
David Mitchell. Cloud Atlas

My work alters fragments from the past to create a present. I try to tap into the unconscious mind and treat the layers of memory and thought as an archaeologist would a dig-site – I displace people from antique images and create new landscapes around them, exploring human identity and the notion of the individual through time and place.

The landscapes are stitched digitally from photographs I have taken in various locations, thus creating altered realities for my subjects to inhabit (exploring the notion of immigration, nostalgia and reinvention – something I am only too aware of as the daughter of immigrants).

As I rework these photographs of strangers, I develop an intimacy with them – they become part of my thought process, and I cannot help but create new narratives.

I feel sadness towards these anonymous figures – who were they and why has the memory of them been discarded? What comment are we making about our own identities as we dispense with such images?

There are different elements to my work – collecting, layering and (manual and digital) construction to create a visual map for people to follow. I experiment with different materials in the production of the large photo media works – the printing techniques I am currently using create an illusion of movement, adding a sense of gentle surrealism to the pieces. Although printed on metal there is a fluidity to the appearance of the work I create. This is achieved in the digital layering process, by playing with perspective and photographic depth of field.

Each piece, whether a photographic-montage or a hand-stitched mixed-media, pays respect to its borrowed subject. It’s a growing body of work – a family of images.

Judith Martinez

The Last Engineers and The Lady Vanishes are a series of altered late 19th and early 20th Century cabinet photographs. The faces are concealed by intricate clock and watch parts from the former Soviet Union, stitched directly over the portraits. These compositions make it impossible to identify the people in the portraits.

Exploring the notion of humanity and memory working as machines – the pieces challenge the idea of identity.

There is a certain sadness and guilt in the process of creating these works. Stitching the clock and watch parts over the faces and covering their features, makes them unidentifiable, thus erasing them as individuals.