|A.K.A.||Martina A. Lopez, Martina López, Martina Anita Lopez|
|From||United States of America|
Martina Lopez is an American photographer whose digital media works combining landscapes and 19th-century portraiture produce eery and spiritual images that seem organic but are mostly computer generated. She is currently a professor at the University of Notre Dame in Notre Dame, Indiana, although she is originally from Seattle, Washington.
Raised in a white middle-class neighborhood in Seattle, with seven other siblings of second generation Mexican descent, Lopez found inspiration in her personal life for her works. As a photography student at the University of Washington in 1986, she dabbled in digital images. While still in school, her father died and Lopez turned to old photo albums to reminisce, when she did this the photos awoke a curiosity and she became inspired to rewrite the narratives differently than what the photographs presented.
She did so by creating digital images, originally editing from family photos she eventually started using anonymous portraits. Discussing that the family photos represented her family history and that the digital elements represented her memories, gives the images the surrealistic and yet comfortable feel.
Lopez has a Bachelor's degree from University of Washington in Seattle, and a Master's degree in 1990 from the School of the Art Institute of Chicago. She is currently a professor of Photography in the Art History department at the University of Notre Dame.
Influenced by personal connections to 19th century portraits and motivated by the fear that someday she may be lost to existence just as the subjects of the portraits, Lopez created the series Between Reason (2012-2014). The images are both nonsensical and familiar, the landscapes are meant to be constructed and ethereal while she lends elements like her eyes, hair and her own family. The prints themselves are constructed, waxed in the encaustic technique then attached to the wall with no frame but steel corners that becomes backlit allows the viewer to ponder memory and reality.
Martina describes this series (2009-2010) as "...coming from facing my own mortality." The prints are spiritual and ghostly in appearance, but heavy and grounded in the reality of mourning, existence and the future. Taken on Lake Michigan, where her children play and where she has many memories, the children representing innocence and the possibility of future depicted look as if they're floating unsure of what is next.
The Mourning of Memory
The project (2003-2006) was separated into small digital prints and ambryotypes, which are images reflecting on glass. The subject itself is a landscape, specifically from two patches of land that are similar looking but during different times of the year, making the viewer aware of time, in which "... each insignificant day adds up to a year and eventually a lifetime." The images themselves were scavenged from thrift stores, making them lost and forgotten, a theme that Martina seems to continually come back to in her works. The restructuring of these forgotten images and putting back into context is similar to the recollection of memory.
In this series (1990-1998), Lopez incorporates not only her personal family photos but other photos owned by individuals, in doing so she creates a more personal and applicable narrative of memory and family. During the time in which she created these images, computer assisted mediums were just able enough to create this surreal like narrative that ties memory and personal connections for people who are otherwise unseen but in memory and picture. The stillness of the figures and the horizon of reality behind them are to be visual dairies of Lopez, although she feels that the personal connections only drive to the images creation.
Through the Looking Glass
In 2007-2008, did a series depicting her journey with breast cancer. All of the images are focused on a circle in the center of the image, the mirror, presenting what Lopez sees when she herself looks into the mirror. Her missing breast with incision marks is central to the narrative of herself, her bald head and her patients gown are what she is, her cancer is an inescapable truth. She voices that, "It never leaves you and although it was in the past, you know it could also be your future."
Lopez's work has been held at The Crossroads Gallery for Contemporary Art, in which curator David Travis writes an extensive description of her work in relation to the collection.
Other museums such as the Seoul Museum of Art, The Philadelphia Museum of Art, and the Art Institute of Chicago have featured her work.
Honors and awards
Awarded National Endowment for the Arts Visual Arts Photography Fellowship.
- Aperture Magazine, Portfolios 1: Computer Photomontage (1994)
- Naomi Rosenblum's A World History of Photography
- The Digital Eye by Silvia Wolf
- 100 Ideas That Changed Photography by Mary Warner Marien
- Digital Photography: Truth, Meaning, Aesthetics by Steven Skopik