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.
Michelle Yi Martin is a multi-disciplinary artist and self-taught weaver, born in Seoul, South Korea and based in San Francisco. As an educator of the humanities for over 20 years, Yi Martin earned her BA from Santa Clara University, CA, and her MA from the University of San Francisco, where she became active in the Teaching for Excellence and Social Justice program. She completed residencies at Textilsetur in Blönduós, Iceland (2017); the Josef and Anni Albers Foundation in Bethany, CT (2019); and the Space Program in San Francisco (2020). Yi Martin received a grant from the Danish Arts Council to exhibit her work in Aarhus, Denmark (2019). She has exhibited at the Textile Center in Iceland; Ovartaci Museum in Denmark; Nationale in Portland, OR; Round Weather in Oakland, CA; the Berkeley Art Center, CA; and Grove Collective in London, UK. Her practice of light weaving was featured as part of the Anni Albers exhibit at the New Britain Museum of American Art, New Britain, CT. And she was a contributing artist at Black Mountain College, Ashville, NC. Yi Martin's upcoming work with the artist collective ESG will be featured on the Manhattan Bridge Anchorage in Dumbo, Brooklyn, as part of the Light Year installations. Other future projects include her light weaving as part of the Copenhagen Light Festival, and her permanent installation at Pier 70 in San Francisco.
Michelle Yi Martin: In Medias Res is on view at Municipal Bonds, 1275 Minnesota Street, San Francisco, CA, December 4, 2021 - February 12, 2022, Thursday - Saturday, 12-5pm and by appointment. For more information, please contact Emily Miller at 917.450.0583, email@example.com.