This piece depicts the architectural form of scaffolding on the church spire of St Mary's Cathedral in Edinburgh during its restoration in 1995/6. The dark geometric and triangular shapes of the spire are contrasted against a blue-grey sky infused with pale yellow light. The delicate features of the scaffold are picked out in finer lines.
Jenny Martin notes that she "was initially inspired by the shapes made by the juxtaposition of the spires and arches with the scaffoldings and by the deep recesses found in the scaffolding contrasting with the surface patterns of the stone.
"There was another idea that drew me to this subject - the whole idea of what the restoration of the church actually meant. It seemed to me that what really needed restored [sic] was not the exterior buildings of the church but the actual body of people that in fact made the church up. I felt the church was addressing the wrong issue - instead of trying to bring an understanding of God to people, so often efforts are spent in tidying up their image. As a Christian and church-goer this concerned me and I have tried to express some of these concerns in this painting."
Regarding her inspiration, Martin notes that "my work is based on my interest in architecture. I am interested in the rectilinear shapes, and compositional possibilities that are created by buildings. Some of the work that I have included is based on places in Scotland. These works were inspired by the way in which "hard edged architecture makes wonderful shapes on a two-dimensional surface. I was also interested in the way in which muted colours have an enigmatic atmosphere."
She said that during a visit to Italy "I was particularly inspired by the architecture of the churches and cloisters that I have visited while I was there. I am interested in capturing the beautiful quality of the light and the colours of the wall paintings and crumbling plaster in the ancient places I visited. The interest in solid shapes still remains but I found the curves of the arches and the deep shadows created by these an irresistible subject.
"I work only on paper in water-based media as I like the vibrancy of watercolour and the graphic quality of drawing."
Jenny Martin was born in 1973. After studying at the University of Edinburgh, Jenny went on to the Edinburgh College of Art and gained an MA (Hons) in Fine Art in 1996. She also furthered her studies by gaining, an MFA in Painting. Since completing her studies Martin has developed an affinity with printmaking, and has exhibited her work across Britain, throughout both Scotland and London. As such, her works are featured in many private and public art collections. She has also received many awards, most recently from the Fenton Arts Trust. Martin currently holds a teaching position as Development Manager at Leith School of Art, and continues to work both as an artist and as a scholar, having contributed to many publications, as part of ‘The Artist Magazine’.
Jenny Martin's Profile at Edinburgh Printmakers
With thanks to Tolquhon Gallery for information about this artist