Michelle Yi Martin: In Medias Res
December 4, 2021 - January 29, 2022Free
Municipal Bonds is pleased to present Michelle Yi Martin’s first solo show with the gallery, ‘In Medias Res,’ featuring her recent abstract woven works. Titled with the Latin phrase for “in the middle of things,” Yi Martin’s exhibition includes woven filament sculptures and freeform fiber works. Through these varied structural forms, she explores convergences of history and heritage, minimalism and adornment, material and light.
San Francisco-based, Yi Martin actively draws on her roots in her practice. “As a Korean-American immigrant, I have always lived in the middle space, which is where all the threads of one’s identity intersect. This intersection is a balancing act—and although never fully achieving balance, the act defines me.” Her weavings identify as guardians of the threshold to what might be or what has been. “Fiber, textiles, weaving are foremost connected to humanity’s needs of cloth, vessels for food and water, and shelter. The technology of sheltering one’s skin and feeding one’s kin arose within us, and I believe that it always is and has been there.”
Yi Martin turns to local salvage yards for material inspiration: twisted nettle, coarse jute, handspun wool, copper wire, and horsehair from violin bows. With remnants and spools of fishing line, the “found and made” coalesce on her floor loom as woven narrative. And she turns to various permutations of light as the guiding principle or binding substance of her work—whether in terms of transparency in construction, translucency of material, or consideration of negative space and shadow.
While structurally Yi Martin’s weavings lean into a legacy of functionality, her work is distilled to delicate lines, minimal forms—less quotidian container, more celebratory ornament. Her tubular sculptures interlock and expand, meeting in the midst of space and movement. And her intricate textiles, using natural and synthetic fibers, are expressive and haptic, parlayed from utilitarian into experiential. In Yi Martin’s approach, ‘In Medias Res’ ties the personal and universal—her woven line connecting tradition, dimension, and experimentation.