Super Ply & Friends Show

Super Ply and Friends paintings by Barbara Martin

My Super Ply and Friends solo show is now on display at Mount Hood Community College in Gresham, Oregon. It is a big, bold show and fills the display walls of the Fireside Gallery in the Student Union:  19 black and white Super Ply series paintings, plus four related paintings in color. This is the first time I have been able to hang so many of the black and white paintings together so I am thrilled to be able to invite you to stop in and see them.    

The Super Ply series is ongoing. So far it depicts individual characters, each reflecting a moment or feeling that came to me intuitively while I created that specific piece.  Some were begun during live painting exhibitions (for example at Beaverton Arts Mix on behalf of the Washington County Open Studios Tour or at Catherine Bede Gallery in Hillsboro)  but most were painted alone in my studio. I like to work in silence so I can “listen” to the paintings as I work.

I begin these by finger painting in black paint onto a black piece of paper — using my left hand. Then I flip that paper over and press it against the plywood so it leaves a print. The print is just a random squiggly mark, but I use that to begin looking for a face or an eye or perhaps many eyes. I paint in just black and white using only two small brushes — and my hands. I add details with black and white oil pastel crayons and an ordinary #2 pencil. The painting progresses organically with context and perhaps text being added. I continue working until the subject resolves itself — that’s when I finally know the title.

Every painting is its own world created using just black and white acrylic paint, black and white oil pastel crayons, plus an ordinary #2 pencil. They are painted on thin plywood, and sometimes the wood peeks through the paint. The plywood also led to the name for the series — as in Super Ply(wood).

Behind the scenes, I have also learned to use a power chop saw and compressor (this terrifies me) and nail gun so I can cradle the boards. This essentially means the back is reinforced to prevent warping. I also attach d-rings and a hanging wire so the paintings are gallery-ready.

In order to transport so many paintings at one time, I put little felt bumpers on the back corners and then stacked them up. Then I lashed them together with bungee cords. The SuperPly paintings made tidy stacks because they are all the same size: 16″ wide and 24″ high.

This is how they looked waiting to be loaded in the car.

Finally, I added a few “friends” to add a pop of color to the show and to bracket the Super Ply paintings on that lovely long wall. I hope you enjoy the show!

ps Yes! These are available — the original paintings as well as PRINTS!!!!  We are adding paintings little by little. The Super Ply paintings are fabulous as prints, I test ordered one on the least expensive paper and it is great. If you don’t see your favorite, please let me know and I will add it. Here is my artspan site. 

Author: Barbara Martin

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