Ruth Marten - Nose

Digital Print, Open, Unsigned Edition

"Ruth Marten's drawings occupy and enact upon the historical spaces of vintage prints by detourning them with the precision of the tattoo artist. Delicate, controlled and highly illusionistic, they utilise the trope of the visual malaprop to create an imaginary third space in which surreal and subversive narratives are entwined. Central to Marten's work is the idea that the visual classificatory systems and conventions of natural history and encyclopaedic illustrations are inherently partial and unstable, and she exploits this knowledge to create a surreal and subversive world in which hip-hop Phoenicians can co-exist with hirsute Counts.

In Marten's indelible vision, tables are tapped by snakes, picnic baskets and bizarre forms of horticulture, whilst a priapic primate supports a giant wig on the back of a marmoset. Her drawings map these fantastical spaces with a technical subtlety that makes them appear quasi-scientific: like rogue illustrations from a Raymond Roussel novel, or key evidence in a pataphysical court of enquiry. In fusing the historical aspects of her chosen prints with contemporary concerns, Marten's work speak to us across time and, in doing so, it take the weights, measures and protocols of the taxonomic process to forge a magical world that is distinctly her own."