Liljana Mead Martin

        Negative [Space] Interface
        Stone Witness
        Night Blooming Cereus
        Inside the Day was Night
        Work Sets
        Pallas of Crushed Shells


The Bedrock Gardener  (detail).
Gypsum, plaster, hydrostone, cement, black sand, red sand, juniper, found plastics, chalk, charcoal, reflective insulation, pigments. 2019. Photo by Denis Ogrinc.


March 6th to April 10th, 2021
Wil Aballe Art Projects | WAAP
1129 East Hastings St.
Vancouver, BC V6A 1S3

The Listener. 
Polyurethane rubber, florescent pigment, brass stem, glass beads, charred wood. 2021. Courtesy of Wil Aballe Art Projects, photographs by Mike Love. 

Exhibition Press Release: 
Geophilia is a solo exhibition of new work by Liljana Mead Martin that queries the possibility of ever fully knowing the places we seek to love. Martin’s works are visceral in their tactility and bear the trace of her hybrid interests in sculpture and choreography. Hers is a practice of coming to know and unknow through touch, by probing limits and testing the pliability of the world around her. An examination of traces and fragments are key to this new series, which continues the artist’s investigation into the circulation of energy and the erosion of time.

The Listener (2021) is a charred tree trunk laid horizontally, knotted on one end by a tightly bound root bundle. New growths appear to be sprouting forth out of this nurse log in the form of brass stems and surreal fluorescent petals, with delicately flowering heads cast from the artist’s ear. Feeders (2021) is an accumulation of spiny pinchers, fingery protrusions amassed in a crowded formation that resemble barnacles. Conical mounds budding skywards, Drifting flex (2021) consists of bent elbows poised as though readied to unfurl. Throughout Geophilia, the body is understood as a tool that creates an imprint on the earth, whilst simultaneously assuming postures that mimic various forms of life. Disinterested in anthropomorphizing the botanical or the geological, Martin is instead devoted to new ways of being in relation with the surrounding environment. If terraforming is the process of making earth habitable for humans, Martin proposes an opposite action: remaking humanness in order to accommodate the feeling world.  Her works directly challenge any presumption of the world as unfeeling, inanimate, or unconscious.

The sculptures are gestural in their grasping, caressing, overflowing, caving inwards or hollowing out. Frequently, Martin casts hands that evoke digging movements, but she also buries things inside her casts: sand, soil, juniper, and dried flowers, as well as insulation, plastics, fungicide and scrap metals. This process of worlding is not purist, but grapples with the contemporary realities of toxicity and contamination. Taken together, the complex material accretions are attentive to overlapping and entirely incompatible lifespans, contradictions that can make a place so difficult to know.

The Listener II.
Polyurethane rubber, florescent pigment, brass stem, charred wood. 2021.
Photo by Steven Cottingham.

the ground doesn’t wander
Heat warped tinted-acrylic. 2021

Feeders. Hydrostone, ink, iron oxide, black sand, soil, powdered pearl, on wooden base. Variable dimensions. 2021

Feeders. (Detail)  Hydrostone, ink, iron oxide, black sand, soil, powdered pearl, on wooden base. Variable dimensions. 2021

Transmutations. Hydrostone, plaster, soil, ink, iron oxide, black sand, dry pigments, wooden base. Variable dimensions. 2021

Conduits I,II,III. Heat treated steel, double-sided ink monoprints on paper, acrylic cylinders. 2021

Geophilia (panorama). Courtesy of Wil Aballe Art Projects.

Geophilia ( entry panorama). Courtesy of Wil Aballe Art Projects.

Negative [Space] Interface. 2021

Ink monoprints on paper, on panel.

Included in the online exhibition and publication, BIOMASS, Volume 1. Eve Tagny, Alexis L.-Grisé, Liljana Mead Martin, Emily Chudnovsky, Steven Cottingham and Justin Apperley.

BIOMASS looks at art through the lifecycle of material and energy. Artists consider their practices in highly dimensional ways, BIOMASS brings these realities and nuances to the fore through featured works and dialogues on practice.

The term biomass is used most often within the energy industry, typically to describe forms of burnable “waste” material used to create heat and electricity. The term’s origins are more overt, bio means life, mass means volume. From these two meanings we find a charged yet expanded perspective through which to experience art and its making.

Interview Excerpt:
“ This year I began a new body of research, stemming from a curiosity in west coast forests and some zoning terminology called the Wildland Urban Interface or WUI zones. It’s basically a transition zone between what is considered wildland and new areas of human development, often these are on the fringes of more densely populated areas, in wilder areas. Communities in these zones are very vulnerable to wildfires and in simple terms their presence disrupts an existing ecology. But it’s complicated, because as cities become more expensive people want to have their own space - causing drift and sprawl in areas that can’t necessarily sustain that many people. I mean, it takes tons of energy and resources to extend the grid. I was drawing from that research to create these works that suggest architectural shapes, specifically thresholds to homes or buildings.”

For the full interview and exhibition see,

Stone Witness
Abbas Akhavan, Tanya Busse, Liljana Mead Martin.
Curated by Jesse Birch at Nanaimo Art Gallery. 

The Bedrock Gardener. 2019.Gypsum, plaster, hydrostone, cement, black sand, red sand, juniper, reflective insulation, found plastics, dry pigment. 

Exhibition text by Jesse Birch.

“In rocky mounds, boulders, and cliffs, when shadows fall, where lichen grows, where cracks appear, we see faces. However grotesque, we see ourselves. This desire to be reflected in the stony landscape also has scientific grounding, as we are made of minerals. But this empathy with the land has limits. What do shareholders and mine operators perceive as they level entire mountains? How are we reflected in tar sands operations that move more sediment in a year than all of the world's rivers combined? How do we understand the discrepancies between those who profit from extraction and those who feel the effects? Who is burdened with the role of witnessing and how much can they endure? We project our visages onto the land, but a Stone Witness sees it differently and can give testimony for millennia.

Through drawing, video, and sculpture, artworks by Abbas Akhavan, Tanya Busse, and Liljana Mead Martin consider human cultures of extraction in relation to geological time. Works in the exhibition include paintings made with organic light sensitive materials on paper made of stone, a video installation that conjures resistance to the resource extraction that fuels the military industrial complex, and sculptural works that trace connections between the body and the violence of the endless excavation and construction in the built environment.

This exhibition is set in a place with a very specific relationship to geology. Nanaimo, BC is a former coal mining town on the territory of the Snuneymuxw people, marked by petroglyphs carved in stone that speak to origin stories and cultural rights to the land, and undercut by mine shafts extracted through one hundred years of subaltern labour. That Nanaimo rides the northern edge of the Cascadia subduction zone makes the site of this exhibition even more resonant.” 

The Bedrock Gardener. 2019. Gypsum, plaster, hydrostone, cement, black sand, red sand, juniper, reflective insulation, found plastics, dry pigment. 
Expansive Bind (background). 2019. Hydrostone, sand, salt, dirt, plaster, burnt cedar, charcoal, dry pigment. 

Just A Scratch (III) 2019. Hydrostone, dirt, sand, plaster, charcoal, gauze, dry pigment, tinted acrylic shelf.

The Bedrock Gardener. 2019. Gypsum, plaster, hydrostone, cement, black sand, red sand, juniper, reflective insulation, found plastics, dry pigment.

Night Blooming Cereus; Queen of the Night
2020. Hydrostone, black sand, iron oxide, dried cactus flower, charcoal, ink, cement, 8’ x 2’ x 1.5’. Shown in Jelena and the Magic Flute, curated by Dan Starling. Courtesy of CSA Space. 

Exhibition details and accompanying writing by Dan Starling here.

Inside the Day was Night
2017. Performance, double exposure photograph, video.

Inside the Day was Night is a site-specific time-based project developed by Liljana Mead Martin and Caitlin Chaisson on the occasion of the 2017 solar eclipse. Using the eclipse as an opportunity to consider the tenacious choreography between the sun and the moon, the passing of two bodies, and the pull of cosmic forces on terrestrial life, the artists took part in a four-day series of improvisational actions on Salt Spring Island | Occupied and unceded Coast Salish territory (Tsawout, Tsartlip, Pauquachin, Tseycum).This project was presented by Far Afield with support from the Canada Council for the Arts. Videos and Curatorial Statement can be found at

Inside the Day way Night. Photographic stills and video performance. 2017

Photographic stills and video performance. 2017

Photographic stills and video performance. 2017

Inside the Day was Night. 2017. Double exposure film photographs and choreographed performance.

Inside the Day was Night. 2017. Double exposure film photographs and choreographed performance.

Inside the Day way Night. Double exposure Black and white film photographs. 2017

Black and white film photographs. 2017

Performance. Black and white film photographs. 2017

Liljana Mead Martin is a visual artist based in NYC, working in sculpture. Her artwork explores the material ecologies of extraction, cultivation and deep time. Martin’s research is focused on the ways people grow sensitivity and resilience within dark ecologies and toxic habitats.

In recent work Martin considers the reciprocity between bodies and land, both natural and constructed. Materials gathered in the studio for sculpture are often recycled and repurposed to form an alchemy between the body and environmental conditions.

Born in Nova Scotia and raised between North America, Australia and Europe. Martin’s parents were students of the Tibetan Buddhist teacher, Chögyam Trungpa Rinpoche. The surrounding community of writers, artists and teachers whom she grew up with had a profound impact and these early influences heightened questions pertaining to impermanence, phenomenology and exchanges with the natural world.

Martin’s work has been exhibited at The Klondike Institute for Arts and Culture (Dawson City Yukon Territory), Artscape Gibraltar Point (Toronto Island ON), Dynamo Arts Association (Vancouver), CSA Space (Vancouver), Nanaimo Art Gallery (Vancouver Island), and BIOMASS (worldwide). Martin’s solo exhibition Geophilia opened with Wil Aballe Art Projects, in Spring 2021.

Published Texts
                            By Liljana Mead Martin

- Forests, Fantasy and the Knowledge Industry
- Drawings with Metal and Sunscreen
- Pulp, Synthesis

Float School. Pedagogical Experiments and Social Actions. Published by Living Labs, Emily Carr University of Art + Design
                            About Liljana Mead Martin

What is an Online Art Experience, 2021


Next Opening:
Novemeber 2021 at The Drake Hotel, Toronto

email: liljanameadmartin [@] gmail [.] com

For Upcoming Exhibitions follow:
IG: liljana_mead