Gillian Martinez is an artist and writer born and raised in the desert. She is currently based in Seattle, Washington, where she is a BFA candidate at Cornish College of the Arts. Her practice centers around personal narrative and depiction of memories through her use of soft sculpture, ceramics, and text. She has previously studied at Pacific Northwest College of Art and Pilchuck Glass School. She has received various Cornish Scholarships, a Pilchuck Scholarship, and two Outstanding Student Achievement in Contemporary Sculpture nominations.
Memory is soft, delicate, malleable, weak, forgiving, comforting, and powerful. My practice is about memory – from materials to subject matter. I convey instances and experiences from my life in relation to the fallibility of remembering them. I do this by using found textiles, ceramics, and writing that are as manipulative and nostalgic as the memories they depict. I choose to narrate this work using my own experiences even though I know better than to trust my own memory with whether or not these experiences are reliable. Both memories and materials come and go.
I stitch together dated fabrics, carelessly. I create sculptural forms, experimentally. I jot down my thoughts with no editing. This process of making is also a process of healing, learning, and memorializing my memories. I am choosing to relive life experiences in the form of sculpture, mostly as a catharsis for myself.
While my work is based on my everyday thoughts, emotions, and experiences; I acknowledge the implications that fiber art and soft sculpture are inherently feminist with social and cultural underpinnings. In addition to the women who pioneered fiber art, the women in my family have passed down various methods of craft and making to me, which has helped shape the artist and person I am. An emphasis on the handmade is pivotal to my work, both to acknowledge the labor that goes into making it and to pay homage to craft. The things I make are made by my hand, with love and labor, for myself and for my family.