As seen in Martin’s recent museum show, Someday We Can, at the Albright Knox Gallery in Buffalo, New York, she has developed power in simple linework. In what often appears to be one continuous line, and often “performed” in front of an audience or museum-goers, becomes a metaphor for the continuous and often unseen connections that people share in their everyday lives. And in this, it makes sense that Martin sees her work as developing new connections between philosophy and technology. It is also clear that her idea that art is more than an object of admiration disconnected from the process of its inception connects to her ability to make her work a site-specific performative action. Allowing the viewer to interact with the work in real-time, to see ideas develop and evolve. This simple act of allowing the viewer in, makes Martin’s recurring question, “Who Are You?”, resonate even stronger. “Asking that question, we, as creative people, are able to explore that a little bit more than perhaps other people by self exploration, or by creating art, or by doing something spontaneously,” Martin said in a recent interview.
“A little bit of my goal by doing what I do quite naturally is to find the word and the vocabulary of who we are at the core, as people. We can describe what we do, where we’re from, the roles we play: teachers, mothers, fathers, cousins, sons, daughters. When answering the question, ‘Please tell me who you are,’ without providing any of those things—it’s baffling to me every time. As traveled, educated, amazing human beings, we don’t really have that vocabulary to describe who we are at the core, and that troubles me a little bit. Exploring these words within my work, maybe I can start to find out what some of these words, vocabulary or phrases are. “The title of the show, "Charge Your Self" is about taking time for yourself,” Shantell continues, “and about making sure that the input has good intentions, that you’re doing what you love, and how what you do will give you energy.”
(San Francisco, 2017)