Fenn Martin is probably best known for arriving to a festival with 2 tonnes of raw clay and converting some old jalopy into an alternate clay figurative reality. A graduate from the NSCAD U (Nova Scotia College of Art and Design University), Martin largely works in clay, found and fabricated armatures. His work investigates past and present agrarian life while extending historical traditions in figurative ceramics. Inspired by his home town Antigonish’s remarkable history of grassroots co-ops, the Antigonish movement informs his explorations of small-scale agrarian labour.
Paralleling his art practice Martin pursues arts education and community involvement as intrinsic to creation, Martin is extremely proud to design and lead collaborative arts projects, also co-founder of Antigonight, Antigonish's outdoor contemporary art festival. Currently Martin is working with students at the Ceramics department at NSCAD Universit,y serving as full time technician.
In the face of rural exodus, [Fenn] Martin asks people to consider a return to the land. He plays on traditional themes and techniques from decorative and architectural ceramics, combining Islamic floral design and figurative storytelling.
Tila Kellman, independent critic
A powerful representation of ... artistic energy... Representative of Diego Rivera, and his commitment to the common man.
Shelley Thompson, Halifax Chronicle Herald
It's refreshing to see rural subject matter treated with such dignity and originality.
John Gillis, Inverness Oran
[Martin is] incredibly talented, but he also has industry. It's been amazing to watch his sensibility develop, his ideas crystallize. The economics, the sociology, the history involved, all emerge in his work. And he's living it.
Walter Ostrom, World-renowned ceramicist
An artist and work that embodies a new era... Technically and politically savvy, "The Backroads, Hay, Tools, and Clay" is a show that engages us on so many levels. It is an exhibition by and about this place, its people, and this time, and has qualities that will transcend this moment.
Bruce Campbell, Director, St. Francis Xavier University Art Gallery