Isabel M. Martínez
The Distance of an Echo
“In Isabel M. Martínez’s new body of photographic work, spectral shapes hover against ambiguous churns of gold and blue. Again, my mind rushes to analogy—each is like the halo of a solar eclipse, the cool aura of neon, the afterburn of light behind my eyelids—all turns of phrase that gesture in the right direction while exposing how little they are able to say. After all, Martínez’s images are deceptively simple, yet each emerges from a highly labour-intensive (and entirely analogue) process manipulating the basic ingredients of photography itself. Light, chemistry, and time are rendered newly malleable in Martínez’s work, revealing something of the alchemical and fantastical energy that remains at the core of photography as a practice.
“Eschewing a steady, linear march towards achievement, her work evokes other timescales in the histories of image-making: entangled timelines of relation and intuition, centuries that criss-cross in messy networks of curiosity, accident, and magical thinking. It’s a reminder that perception is a process, that there are significant gaps (spatial, temporal, and otherwise) between viewer and viewed.
“To spend time with The Distance of an Echo is to let Martínez attune you to these different ways of looking: simultaneously large and intimate, tangible and wholly unknown.”
— Daniella Sanader