Sandra

A symbolist painter from Milwaukee, Sandra Martinez renders contemporary works on paper that reference human, plant and shelter forms. Her designs evoke a shared human experience that transcends borders, race, and language. Select studies, chosen in collaboration with Wence Martinez, are handwoven into tapestries. Sandra’s mixed media works are float mounted in shadow box frames. Framed dimensions are listed.

  • Harlot’s Progress pg. 28
    Mixed Media
    36.25" x 30.25"
  • Wounded Rake pg. 32
    Mixed Media
    36.25" x 30.25"
  • Wolf Lake pg. 5
    Mixed Media
    36.25" x 30.25"
  • Vocation pg. 18
    Mixed Media
    30.25" x 36.25"
  • Stream of Gold pg. 33
    Mixed Media
    30.25" x 36.25"
  • Relief pg. 42
    Mixed Media
    36.25" x 30.25"
  • Ibid pg. 44
    Mixed Media
    36.25" x 30.25"
  • Desirable pg. 26
    Mixed Media
    36.25" x 30.25"
  • Monk as a Windmill pg. 41
    Mixed Media
    36.25" x 30.25"
  • Memento Mori pg. 47
    Mixed Media
    36.25" x 30.25"
  • Notorious Lies pg. 39
    Mixed Media
    36.25" x 30.25"
  • Polling pg. 54
    Mixed Media
    36.25" x 30.25"
  • Figure is Introduced pg. 51
    Mixed Media
    30.25" x 36.25"
  • Chapter XV Of the Face pg. 39
    Mixed Media
    30.25" x 36.25"
  • Tuttle Lake pg. 10
    Mixed Media
    36.25" x 30.25"
  • Tuttle Lake pg. 12
    Mixed Media
    30.25" x 36.25"
  • Fanny the Phantom pg. 38
    Mixed Media
    36.25" x 30.25"
  • Explain pg. 24
    Mixed Media
    30.25" x 36.25"
  • The Walk Home pg. 7
    Mixed Media
    36.25" x 30.25"
  • About the Time pg. 20
    Mixed Media
    36.25" x 30.25"
  • Cuna Study
    Painting
    31.25" x 20.75"
  • Niño Study
    Painting
    29.75" x 28.25"
  • Totem Study
    Painting
    32.25" x 23.25"
  • Flora Study
    Painting
    17" x 17"
  • Flora Split Study
    Painting
    17" x 17"
  • Fragment of a Queen Study
    Painting
    42" x 34"
  • Codice 296
    Book Page
    14.5" x 12.5"
  • Reach Study
    Collage
    14" x 15"
  • Shimmer Study
    Collage
    13" x 13"
  • Rise Study
    Collage
    13.25" x 13.25"
  • Etch Study
    Collage
    15.25" x 15.25"
  • Black Mesa Study
    Collage
    16.25" x 12.25"
  • Lift
    Painting
    21" x 17.25"
  • Smoke Mesa
    Painting
    18.25" x 15.5"
  • White Mesa
    Painting
    18.25" x 15.5"
  • Blue Mesa
    Painting
    27" x 21"
  • Cauldron of Hecate pg. 30
    Mixed Media
    36.25" x 30.25"
  • Desfile
    Painting
    10" x 21"
  • Madre Criolla
    Painting
    36" x 16"
  • Vessels Study
    Painting
    45" x 31"
  • Vessels Shift Study
    Painting
    10" x 16"
  • Juego Study
    Painting
    15" x 16"
  • Figuras Runner Study
    Painting
    10" x 22"
  • Kiss Study
    Painting
    16" x 14"
  • Pilot Study
    Painting
    12" x 7.5"
  • Codice 101
    Book Page
    14.5" x 12.5"
  • Codice 100
    Book Page
    14.5" x 12.5"
  • Codice 89
    Book Page
    14.5" x 12.5"
  • Codice 79
    Book Page
    14.5" x 12.5"
  • Parada
    Painting
    37.5" x 28"
  • Incar
    Painting
    37" x 27.75"
  • Codice 233
    Book Page
    14.5" x 12.5"
  • Codice 231
    Book Page
    14.5" x 12.5"
  • Tronco Study
    Painting
    44.75" x 27"
  • Agua Study
    Collage
    11" x 10"
  • Mesa Triad
    Painting
    17" x 15"

My process is meditative and explores automatic drawing and writing as a vehicle for spiritual focus. What begins as stream of consciousness content transitions into layers of ink, ash, dirt and acrylic washes that reveal human, plant, and shelter forms.

One of my earliest art memories is digging in the sandbox to discover hidden layers of clay which I then shaped into objects. My immediate, obsessive response to this material led to formal study in ceramics. Halfway through my bachelor’s degree at University of Wisconsin Green Bay, I discovered a love of meditative drawing that opened new paths for my life.

My wide range of influences included Haitian cut metal sculpture, Harold and the Purple Crayon, Keith Haring, and Surreal and Conceptual artists who broke free from traditional methods and materials. My mentor, David Damkoehler, affirmed my pursuits and encouraged me to develop my own symbolic language to give visual expression to my emotions and ideas.

At age twenty-eight, a friend suggested that my drawings would translate well into weavings. A weaver in Oaxaca named Wence Martinez jumped at the challenge. His woven translation of my drawing sparked a desire to meet this man. At our first meeting in person in 1988, I commissioned fourteen new works, initiating a cross-cultural relationship and artistic collaboration that now spans thirty years.

To view Sandra’s resume, click here.

Sandra’s symbolist works on paper are intuitive and meditative. Taking inspiration from surrealists, her process begins with loose contour drawings that can be read as abstracted human, plant, and shelter forms.

Often using book pages and antique manuscripts as her blank canvas, Sandra’s favorite painting materials are sumi ink, marker, acrylic, dirt, sand, ash, and recycled fragments of earlier paintings. Handwritten text is sometimes present but usually obliterated or obscured.

Gestural washes with a minimal palette build up in her work. Some areas are rubbed, erased, cut, collaged, or laden with dirt. The resulting surfaces range from sparse to thick.

Select drawings are expanded into larger painting series and some become weaving studies. She then draws the full-size cartoon weavers use to mark her design on the loom’s warp.

Sandra finishes her paintings by float mounting the work in shadow box frames. Framed dimensions are listed.