The Intricate Art of Marthe Aponte

Antelope Valley artist and college professor, Marthe Aponte, is an award-winning and versatile creator, making unique works of art that stand out for their intricate subtlety and fascinating detail. 

Aponte has produced work using a variety of styles, pursuing all the while, it seems, an idea of the inter-woven life. Her art presents an idea of a metaphorical palimpsest of influences (aesthetic, intellectual, spiritual) that reflect a view of life as a kind of energetic tapestry.

There is an inside-out quality in her work suggestive of connections that exist within the self, under the surface of things. These connections emerge in the intricate patterns of her work across the varying styles she has undertaken.

One is tempted to describe her work as a statement on the experience of eminence, or a comment drawn from a sensibility that sees a single source of experience rendered in the world in infinite iterations. There is in her work an almost literal flowering of energy.

This notion connects with many traditional art forms, from Nepalese sand-painting to ancient Mayan stone carvings. These forms point to the symbolic inward gaze, one that situates an outer cosmos within an inner cosmos (and vice versa). An elegant and mystical sort of Russian-doll relationship results, where the source of existence is located in the Self and also in the deeper, mysterious fabric of Spirit.

While this traditional link may be part of Aponte’s aesthetic/philosophical inspiration, there is also something quite apropos of the current Western cultural moment at work in the ideas of inter-connection and of mindfulness. As we move headlong on a path toward virtual collectivity we often find peace at the center of activity, feeling calm only when we know we are fully engaged in an event, an act, or a moment.

That’s the only time we aren’t looking to our phones for stimulus or scanning the endless tiles on Netflix to find something to watch. And if Marthe Aponte’s work is not intended as a comment on our state of constant, media-driven stimulation, it is, as she says, seeking a kind of Zen.

I am fascinated by the austerity of the art form. I like punching holes with my awl, cutting paper and sewing sequences and beads to make complex compositions simply by inviting the light to create patterns through the holes. I enjoy the repetitive and Zen like nature of the technique which I associate with meditation. The absence of colors in most of them (white on white) invite shadow to play out on the surface in unique ways. This play between the light and dark gives depth to the work.

A self-taught artist, Marthe Aponte has been awarded prizes in MOAH juried shows and has been featured in a solo exhibit at the MOAH: Cedar gallery in a show called Relics of Memory. After experimenting with a number of styles and media, Aponte now works with an awl.

Aponte has been working with picote, a technique of using punched holes to create an effect very much akin to fabric but, at the same time, styled like a cross between mandala painting and pen-and-ink drawing. The technique feels like a continuation and a refinement of her former styles and almost creates a sense that the viewer is seeing a work from the inside out – – a manifestation of an inner world projected outward.

Commenting on her picote work at the MOAH: Cedar in downtown Lancaster in her Relics of Memory show, Aponte described the collection as looking toward the meditative.

A place where the artist and (hopefully) the viewer are transported into another world. One in which time slows down and invite to meditation and introspection.

Many of her newest works double-down on these notions of creating a space for reflective thought by creating pieces in all white (evidenced in the image above). Aponte’s approach to her recent work and echoes of meditation achieves a fine balance between a peaceful calm and an engaging, and yes, stimulating artistry.

“Flow with whatever may happen, and let your mind be free: Stay centered by accepting whatever you are doing. This is the ultimate.”
Zhuangzi

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Please don’t take the perspectives offered here as a definitive view of Marthe Aponte’s art. Take a look for yourself and see what you think. She is prepping for at least one solo show next year (more to come on that later).

You can also see more of her work and read more about her background at her website.

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