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Lifelines

Updated: Jan 23

Works by Shana Martin

December 1, 2023 - February 17, 2024


TranSystems Corporation Gallery


Exhibition Statement


Lifelines focuses on materiality as a vehicle for representing my view of femininity within the larger context of the relationship between art, community, and rock climbing. By employing diverse craft methodologies with retired climbing ropes, I create structures and installations that reflect my personal experience as female artist and climber. Rope and cords play an imperative role in the participation of rock climbing, much in the same way specific materials do for each artist. For this exhibition I have combined my lifelines: art, rock climbing, and the people I hold dear to me. They all serve me in various ways but provide me with the feelings of connectedness and belonging.

My intent is to draw on human instincts to cultivate a space between femininity, community, art, mindfulness, and risk by combining craft processes with retired rock climbing ropes. I breathe new life into once life-protecting gear by constructing various forms and structures, with the support of people in my life who have contributed through donations of ropes or actual productions of knotted lines in the installations. This collaborative effort creates a shared experience where time slows down, or stops for a moment, to locate and preserve a place of wonder. A place where femininity, ruggedness, memory, materiality, risk, and mindfulness coexist in what I refer to as rugged femininity.



Artist Bio


Shana Martin, a native of Tarrant County, Texas, is an accomplished artist whose journey into the world of art began and continues here in the Lone Star State. Born and raised in a family deeply rooted in creativity, Shana's mother, herself a mixed media artist, and her art-collecting parents laid the foundation for a life devoted to artistic expression.

From a young age, Shana displayed an innate curiosity and a daring spirit, always eager to explore the intricacies of how things worked. Her parents, recognizing her adventurous spirit, nurtured her creativity through regular visits to Fort Worth art museums and exhibits, as well as by encouraging various creative and exploratory outlets at home. This early exposure to the arts ignited a passion within Shana and set the stage for her artistic journey.

Shana's fascination with understanding the inner workings of objects led her to a diverse range of interests. A natural risk-taker, she embraced learning anything someone would teach her. Her summers at Camp Carter in Fort Worth, where she honed skills in horseback riding, shooting rifles, archery, and macramé, left an indelible mark on her artistic sensibilities and her approach to life.

Raised in a family that held education in high regard, Shana earned a degree in Visual Art Studies for teaching art in December of 2007 from the University of North Texas. For the past 16 years, 15 of which have been spent in high school classrooms, Shana has been imparting her passion for art to the next generation. During her tenure as an art teacher, she not only explored various media for her students but also explored mixed media and photography sculptural techniques in her own art practice.

In 2020, Shana Martin earned her Master of Fine Arts from Leslie University, where she dug into the assessment of her artistic voice. This pivotal period led her to venture into working with retired rock climbing ropes, a medium that has since become a hallmark of her distinctive style.

Currently, Shana balances her time as a part-time educator at Birdville High School with roles as an adjunct professor at the University of Texas in Arlington and Tarrant County College, as well as her artistic practice. Her current body of work expresses her experiences as a woman in extreme sports and life, reflecting her ongoing commitment to pushing boundaries and exploring the intersection of art and adventure. Shana Martin continues to inspire and challenge both her students and herself, leaving an indelible mark on the vibrant artistic community she calls home.

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