Martha Fleming Ives: Red Parts Whole
I have been a long time fan of Martha Fleming-Ives’s photography. The series featured today, Red Parts Whole, comes after a photographic legacy of capturing what is close at hand: family, relationships, memory, and circumstance. It is not easy to be a participant observer in worlds within the same four walls, but Martha is a visual poet, bringing pathos and depth to her well-seen and articulated work. Her use of color, light, and composition elevate her imagery, distilling a moment just long enough so we can process her journey into the familiar. Red Parts Whole takes a layered approach, combining portraiture, ephemera, text, and visual suggestion to tell a personal story with depth and intelligence.
Martha grew up in Northampton, MA and currently lives in Brooklyn, NY. Her work has been exhibited at Center for Photography at Woodstock, Weatherspoon Art Museum, John Michael Kohler Arts Center, and the Griffin Museum of Photography. She is currently an Adjunct Professor in the Honors Program at the School of Visual Arts, NY.
A selection of images from Red Parts Whole was recently exhibited in Close to Home at Silver Eye Center for Photography, Pittsburgh, PA and one of the images is a semi-finalist for the National Portrait Gallery’s Outwin Boochever Portrait Competition 2016.
Red Parts Whole
Red Parts Whole is an intimate portrait of my sister told through reworked family photographs, letters, journal entries and pictures made over the last six years. The series captures my sister’s descent into mental illness as a teenager, her current struggle with her bipolar disorder as an adult and single mother, and how it has affected our family. The photographs break from a traditional narrative to incorporate techniques of documentary photography, the inclusion of ‘failed’ family photographs (images omitted from our family albums), and references to iconic literary representations of female mental illness such as Shakespeare’s Ophelia and Charlotte Perkins Gilman’s 1892 short story The Yellow Wallpaper.
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