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Trágame, Tierra

Updated: Jul 26, 2023

Works by Martha Elena

On view June 30 - July 29, 2023

Marlene and Spencer Hays

Foundation Gallery

Artist Statement:


Trágame, Tierra is a selection of works that explore fragmented phrases and recollection devoid of context. They are soft convoluted individual forms created out of the desperate attempt to connect. I am interested in creating forms that are abstractedly representative of connection

and fundamental comprehension. The process is playful, layered and destructive. The code to translate is accessible but the design is too distorted to unravel. The arrow motif is the universal directional signal that is useless in these compositions. Often they are saggy, sad and in general a total drag. They each carry the weight of discomfort, shame and are emblematic of an incoherent rant.


“The breadth of my work explores the idea of getting lost in translation. The work begins as a phrase that is converted using the Wingdings 3 font. The font does two things: One, it serves as a filter so that the viewer does not recognize the wording- only the form. It is the bridge between two sets of language and identities. I am torn in two. My native tongue is broken and limited while my English is still incomplete. Wingdings 3 helps me to create a new sense of self. One that only I can understand and manipulate. Two, it allows me to repeat motifs that can be designed and redesigned endlessly. I am interested in the visual representation of language. The content of the words influences the composition, color, and size of the


Artist Bio:

Martha Elena is a multidisciplinary artist from the Rio Grande Valley, where she grew up speaking both Spanish and English. Elena creates drawings and sculptures that explore the malleability and fallibility of language. She begins by converting phrases into the font Wingdings 3, which consists primarily of arrows. These reconfigured, reimagined phrases in turn inspire the composition, size, and color of her works, which range from large-scale fabric sculptures to handheld embroidery. Taken together, these arrow-based pieces approximate a universal method of communication divorced from any specific language. Elena had a solo exhibition at Artspace111 and Carillon Gallery in Fort Worth Texas, and has shown in group exhibitions at Artspace111, Clamplight in San Antonio, Troost Gardens in Kansas, and Talley Dunn Gallery in Dallas. Elena received her BFA from the University of Texas at Rio Grande Valley and currently lives in Fort Worth.


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