Martha Russo (b. 1962, Milford, Connecticut) earned her BA in developmental biology and psychology from Princeton University in 1985. In 1984, she suffered a career-ending injury while vying for a spot on the United States Olympic Field Hockey Team. After recovering from surgery, Russo was attracted to the physical nature of sculpture. She began studying studio arts in Florence, Italy in 1983 and continued studying ceramics at Princeton University. In 1995, she earned her MFA at the University of Colorado Boulder. Russo exhibits her sculptures and installations nationally at venues such as the Alan Stone Gallery in New York, Denver Art Museum, Museum of Contemporary Art/Denver, and The Santa Fe Art Institute. Her work was recently the focus of a 25-year survey at the Boulder Museum of Contemporary Art in 2016. Through the socially and politically based art collective, Artnauts, Russo shows her 2-dimensional works. Since joining the group in 1996, she has been involved in 240 exhibitions in 18 countries. In addition to her studio practice, Russo is an instructor at the University of Colorado Boulder and before that, she taught at Rocky Mountain College of Art + Design in Denver for 18 years. She lives in the mountains northwest of Boulder, Colorado with her husband, Joe Ryan, and two children, Odelia and Henry.
All of my work is purposefully obscure.
It is just out of the grasp of language and thus brings us back to our rudimentary way of collecting information, namely, through the senses and the body. Although my work is steeped in the ceramics’ process, it side steps the traditions of the earth-bound, fragile, and precious material. Rather, my works embrace the precarious. They extend into space, hover in mid-air, barely hold on, pile up, and are sometimes on the verge of disappearing into dust. The chameleon-like properties of clay and, specifically, its tenuous nature speak to the immediacy and transient nature and the fragility of life. Coupled with this quietness, some of the massive installations have a certain energy and force that further connect us to our roots and our origins.
I want my works to get into your bones and guts, to touch on the raw, the visceral, the nerves; to murmur up through the body to make a time and place for contemplation and reflection about our basic biological humanness.