Martha Tabor

Visual Artist

NOTE: Martha Tabor, talented artist beloved by a wide circle of friends, died on January 10, 2004, after a long struggle with cancer. She was a member of washingtonart, and was interviewed for the the featured artist section of our site this past Fall Her friendship was a true gift, and her work will continue to inspire.

Swing Low
curly willow, hickory, poplar, found netting, 48" x I44"x 36 (I996)

I've come from a fairly straight documentary photography background and professional career as a photographer into printmaking (screenprinting) and most recently into sculpture. I've found that sculpture and printmaking allow me to work more poetically and suggestively than I was able to do with photography. I also like the physicality of sculpture, the "thingness of the materials."

My sculpture is changing from pieces which are specifically referential to the human body such as "The River" in which I use both my own face and hands. (These are cast into molds made out of alginate, a dental impression material. I use hydrocal, a building material which is a bit stronger than plaster for the casting itself.) I've done a whole series of wall pieces using the black fabric background or using hanging shrine-shaped boxes and including hands and/or faces in all of them - such as "Spirit Block". I feel that hands have enormous evocative power and much can be suggested with subtle shifts in position and tension.

I'm now working more abstractly as well as more fully in the round. I'm now using a tree called curly willow since its sinuous and sensual forms speak strongly to me. My sculpture tends to start from a feeling evoked by the tension and emotions of materials (such as the door or the Harry Lauder's Walking Stick and Curly Willow used in "Leaving Home". I then work with the materials until I come to some sort of resolution with the shapes and feeling they suggest. I feel I'm moving more and more into a spiritual area with my work.

My most recent work, represented by "Jacob's Ladder III", "Prophet's Wheel" , "Bringing in the Sheaves", and "Swing Low"(above) are suggested to me both by feelngs that I want to embody and by gospel music which I've been studying lately as I take beginning singing lessons. Most of these are suggested by this music, which, though it comes out of the Black experience of slavery, speaks powerfully to me.

I also continue to work with photography and printmaking, but am now focused into making prints on a computer using scanned Images of my own photographs and combining and layering them using Photoshop. I also have a body of work called "My Dog as Art" which includes photographs, sculpture, and prints. Four pieces from this body are shown here. Maggie, my first dog was the model from most of this work.

A selection of Martha Tabor's works

Recent Work


Works 1997 -1999

Examples of Earlier Work

Examples of Dog Work

Biographical Information

Contact & Pricing Information








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