Though shes always been a gifted painter, Julia Martin has evolved over the last few years into one of Nashvilles most intriguing and fully formed artists. Her earlier work was more figurativeshe spent years as a commissioned portrait painterbut over time shes moved toward abstract figuration: She still focuses on the human form, yet her newer subjects inhabit a dreamlike world that, though seemingly rooted in the past, defies easy interpretation. (I do feel a need, Martin says in her artist statement, for the work to evoke a feeling similar to the one I get when looking at a dingy old photograph or a film that forces my imagination back in time.) These environments arent the only elusive elementsrendered in earthy, muted colors, her stone-faced subjects never tip their hands, an ambiguity that only makes them more alluring, like that frustrating lover you just cant get a handle on.
Tuesdays-Saturdays. Starts: Sept. 12. Continues through Oct. 10, 2009