What do you want to find?
Martha Lyons Haywood
My integral labour of love for the one who follows me, though I do not know their name
Pappír, ull, bómull /Paper, wool, cotton
Remembering the future
In a recent conversation with my family, we talked about the different reasons why my siblings and I were often late for school growing up. My parents explained that we would insist on looking for interesting things on the floor and in the undergrowth. I would find something that I liked and bring it home or to school to examine for a while. Later, I would insist that we had to remember where it was that we found the treasure of interest and return it to that exact same spot.
I have been focusing on this routine of observation, study, honour, and return in my adult artists practice, but I did not realise it dated so far back into my experience as a very young child. My current practice is carefully focused on considering different creative methods of respecting and developing kinships with materials, local environments, and living or non-living creatures as companions or collaborators.
Recently, I have been drawing directly in the landscape in materials where my marks will be deleted by the environment or weather once I am gone from the scene; in snow, dirt or sand. In my studio I have been drawing birds in their various states of vulnerability, or play, as I use my own method of playing with drawing tools to express my affection towards the creature.
Much of how I behave while making or performing in my practice comes from observations of non-human beings, such as birds and insects. I learn how a creature works through their day as a solitary being in a non-solitary world, and I find a kinship in their decisions and the actions they take.
During making, I am open to decisions that the materials themselves perform in our negotiation together. They are in charge of their own chemical or ephemeral properties. This year, I collected seaglass and attempted to melt the fragments together to make a single glass sheet. By its own will, the glass expanded and broke my designed mould. Now, it continues to crack and change as it matures.
In my research, I concern myself with the poetics and politics of relationships in nature and human society as symbiotic systems and dynamics. In my work, I make it known that I am aware that small gestures can have a resounding effect on larger situations and spaces. I usually make works by hand for a greater personal understanding of the details involved in an object or installation. Stand by me is made up of individual hand-turned ‘chess’ pieces of the same size. Each piece is visually unique and unattached, but together they stand as one.
I make similar gestures in Eye to Eye as Strangers, but I also took on a consciously maternal role as the artist in this solo show to develop the room’s character to cater for the needs of my tiny, solitary sculpture; cleaning, changing the sound, temperature, lighting, and wall colour as a method of nesting. I project my own feelings of solitude, grief, hope, joy and love onto my sculptures and care for them as I see fit.
I seek to find intimacies in distracted masses. I use artmaking as a tool of guidance through tactile poetry, to think through politics as a conversation within sensorial culture, and as a method of staying wild. Through artmaking I am committing to being one small but contributing part of the universe.
From Martha x
A special thank you to the cleaning, janitorial, maintenance, teaching, administrative, workshop and library staff at LHÍ for the support and care I have received at the school. Thank you to the students of the MA and BA for a wonderful community. Thank you to my family, always. Thank you to my new and old friends and those who have given external support in countless ways over the last few years.