Sandra Martinez to Speak at Miller Art Museum

The Miller Art Museum announces its final Second Thursday Program of 2018, an Artist Talk with contemporary Door County symbolist painter Sandra Martinez, which is scheduled for 10:30 am Thursday, Oct. 11. The event, happening in conjunction with the Museum’s newest exhibition, Abstract Thoughts, will take place in the main gallery of the museum and is free and open to the public. Doors open at 10 am for coffee and conversation; volunteer membership announcements will precede the program.

Milwaukee native Sandra Martinez renders contemporary works on paper and weaving designs that reference human, plant and shelter forms. Her designs evoke a shared human experience that transcends borders, race, and language. Select studies, chosen in collaboration with Wence Martinez, are handwoven into tapestries using traditional looms and Oaxacan hand spun wool.

Her process is meditative and explores automatic drawing and writing as a vehicle for spiritual focus. What begins as stream of consciousness content transitions into layers of ink, ash, dirt and acrylic washes that reveal human, plant, and shelter-forms.

One of her earliest art memories is digging in the sandbox to discover hidden layers of clay which she then shaped into objects. Her immediate, obsessive response to this material led to formal study in ceramics. Halfway through her degree, she discovered a love of meditative drawing that opened new paths for her life.

Her influences included Haitian cut metal sculpture, Harold and the Purple Crayon, Keith Haring, and surrealist and conceptual artists who broke free from traditional methods and materials.

“Monk as a Windmill” by Sandra Martinez.

At age 28, a friend suggested that her drawings would translate well into weavings. A weaver in Oaxaca named Wence Martinez jumped at the challenge. His woven translation of her drawing sparked a desire to meet this man. At their first meeting in person in 1988, she commissioned 14 new works, initiating a cross-cultural relationship and artistic collaboration that now spans 30 years.

Martinez Studio in Jacksonport offers Sandra’s symbolist paintings and weaving designs alongside Wence’s pattern-driven weavings.

The Martinezes were named 2018 United States Artists Fellows in collaborative craft and were finalists for the 2017 American Craft Council Rare Craft Fellowship. Martinez is represented in the following permanent collections: Smithsonian Institution in Washington D.C., Museum of Wisconsin Art in West Bend, Wis., National Museum of Mexican Art in Chicago, Ill., and the Miller Art Museum in Sturgeon Bay.

Abstract Thoughts remains on view through Nov. 6, 2018. Admission is free. For more information call 920.746.0707 or visit For more on Sandra and Wence Martinez, visit

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