Visual Arts — January 2, 2013 13:16 — 1 Comment

Kelda Martensen

I watched a group of pigeons fly today.  Watched them swoop to the left on a short-lived voyage, interrupted by a right moving momentum.  I watched them glide through the air, carried by the wind, before rerouting themselves to the left they’d just seen.  Watched them drift and slow as they turned to return, seconds later flying only to repeat.  I watched a group of pigeons fly today, still as stone with my mouth hanging open.  Spellbound, they moved, and I could feel the wind as it blew past my head, down the nape of my neck, around my arms, my hands, through my legs to my feet.  I watched a group of pigeons fly today and was sure to my core, that I was one of them.

We often experience things in life with such familiarity and involvement that the line between there and not there is a blur.  The after-effect of these instances finds itself settling and sifting into our emotional world, into our minds and our hearts.

I will swear, that if I wasn’t up there with those pigeons on that flight, I’ve been there before.  I was so engaged in that moment that it became my reality, so much so I could taste the vivid details.  And, still to this second, I can describe the feeling of the wind as we flew.  I can see the wings of my companions and the shadows that they cast as we turned back to briefly catch our breaths.

Kelda’s work is like this.  I have seen it often over the past couple years and always upon seeing it, I feel as though we have met before.  Like she found that napkin I wrote my thoughts upon, like she was standing behind me when those tears escaped.  Kelda is, in her essence, a storyteller.  However, she does not tell the tiny details, or fluff the points between the beginning and the end.  Kelda’s work speaks to the resonance of the experience like tracers and dreams.  Her artwork is the rich string of lingerers left like guides to take you back to that moment when you froze and looked up.

-Visual Arts Editor, Liz McDonald

Becoming Northern

The Exchange

Dwelling Open

Its Our Second Winter Here

A Particular Burden

 City Map II

The Outskirts of Sleep

Escape From Cape Town

We Sleep In A New Boat

To Make Your Dreams More Vivid

Leave The Doors Open


I’ll Be Your Closest Neighbor

Unable to Separate You From The Water

Garden of Lowered Eyelids
John Robert Parson’s Studio


See more of Kelda’s work at


 Kelda Martensen

I use metaphors of travel and forms of movement as a vehicle for addressing the world we live in today. Idle and architectural images of rural and urban civilization are my starting off point.  My prints, collages and artist books carry an implied narrative of displacement and a quest to find one’s home amidst the journey. Though personal in allegory, this work interprets universal questions of individual and collective memory, cultural history and natural wonder. I use collage to communicate a worldview that our memories, dreams and observations overlap and coexist on the same plane. I aim to blur the distinction between stillness and wanderlust, between natural and imagined worlds.


Kelda Martensen maintains a studio practice focused in the paper, book and print arts. She serves as full-time visual arts faculty at North Seattle Community College and instructor of printmaking at Pratt Fine Art Center. Kelda received her MFA in Visual Art from the Sam Fox School of Design and Visual Art at Washington University in St. Louis. Recent awards include the Larry Sommers Art Fellowship Merit Award and residency at the Cité Internationale des Arts in Paris, France. Kelda was born in Tacoma and lives and works in Seattle.

One Comment

  1. Frank Church V says:

    That’s godlike. I don’t have enough culture to properly appreciate it. But it all certainly makes me wish I had. Truly incredible.

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