Martha Jablonski-Jones

After studying Fine Arts at the University of Alberta in the late 60’s, I swore I would never paint again. I spent several years working at GDL, a design firm in Edmonton, happily turning out drawings and cartoons for books, brochures, and other materials. That’s where I learned to put theory into practice. Eventually I was drawn back to painting, which I’d left behind at art school. I joined the FCA, brushed up on rusty skills, and started showing. Inspired by urban life, I left Alberta to live in an east side studio in Vancouver, where I could paint to my heart’s content.

I love the urban landscape–the rich textures, smells, and sounds of things weathered and imprinted by time and human occupation. People don’t often appear in my paintings, but they’ve clearly inhabited the spaces. You can see it in the small-scale intimacy of a beckoning doorway, side street, or hidden courtyard: an empty chair can suggest a hundred stories.

Then there’s the massive energy of the city itself–the industrial sites, the humming highrises, the hydro lines and electrical transformers. It’s the materialization of power, yet overlays an older, more primeval elemental power. The natural elements are constant reminders of what is beyond our control or even awareness, even as they lay under our feet and in the air around us. It’s interesting to inject a little pantheism into a city scene.

Frequent visits to the southwest have also motivated a more playful second stream of imagery, incorporating funky Americana and vintage signage. The common thread is an affinity for the character, texture, and emotional feel of old things and places, the memory of who and what has gone just before.

I work in acrylic on canvas, and would call myself a contemporary realist, currently represented by Red Art Gallery in Victoria and Artemis in Deep Cove, North Vancouver.