san-francisco

Susan Martin

Wirtz Art

A large part of the appeal of Susan Martin’s floor piece Sprinkle, 1990, resides in its enchanting combination of mysteriousness and sheer sensual beauty. Although plenty of art being made these days resists easy reading through the use of enigmatic or peculiar materials, such work is often unabashedly repulsive in one way or another. In contrast, Martin’s transformative manipulation of quirky materials heightens their seductive appeal. Consisting of a seemingly haphazard pile of waxy, dark gray disks, Sprinkle’s friendly scatter almost invites an investigatory caress (as its fingerprinted surface testifies). Like the Japanese dry garden it resembles, the calculatedly artless arrangement inspires an open-ended meditation. Are the disks animal, vegetable, or mineral? Are they heavy (like lead, steel, or wood) or light (wax, paper. plastic)? Are they manufactured—an idea suggested by the

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