Judith Martinez Estrada – Palimpsest

Judith Martinez Estrada – Palimpsest

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.

Judith Martinez Estrada


Photo: Aodi Liang