August 4—Even with work underway on the building’s roof, the Albert Lea Art Center is gearing up for a new artist this month, Martha “Marty” Shepard, who paints under the name Martiangelo. The new show is called “RESPECT,” also known as the Aretha Franklin song, and will run from Tuesday through September 17.
“This exhibit showcases the abstract figurative work that I do,” Shepard said. “I focus on women.”
The idea for the theme came about when a few members of the Center attended an event Shepard had held at his studio, and after seeing photos of women, they felt it was appropriate to have a show now.
“They contacted me because of this event I had at the studio and the fact that the women I was showing there and the current political situation with women and their issues,” she said. , referring to the recent Roe v. Wade. .
According to Beth Tostenson, the center’s artistic director, one of the reasons the center features its work is because of women’s issues.
“The community is involved in women’s issues right now, so we wanted her to be featured as an artist because all of her works are by women,” she said.
Shepard described the pieces as all about abstract, figurative women. All artworks, 23 pieces in total, are a combination of oil pastel and acrylic paintings. She also said she had been in her studio for about five years, about the same time it took her to create the exhibit.
And although she has shown individual pieces at the center, this will be her first exhibition.
Shepard, who admitted to having no formal art training other than an interior design course in college, began developing a love for art around age 10.
“I credit 4-H with my interest in art,” she said. “My mom was a 4-H leader, and I couldn’t wait to get in, and you had to be 10 to be a part of it.”
But from 10 to 18 years old, she actively participates in the rotation of the different subjects, with one year serving as cooking, another for sewing and the final for furnishing.
“Most of the art that I studied was in the furniture section because we decorated rooms, we did place settings,” she said. “We did color combinations and studied certain artists every year.”
After retiring in 2005 as dean of academic affairs at Riverland Community College and professor emeritus, she met a friend who always wanted a studio and knew someone who had a studio to rent.
“[Carley Bailey and I] got together and rented the space for a studio – that’s how it all started,” she said.
All his works will be for sale. People can contact office manager Charlene Marley at 507-373-5665.
“We value Marty as an artist in the community, and we’re honored to have her part of our gallery exhibit,” Tostenson said. “She’s doing a great job and we’re delighted to have her.”
The Art Center will host a reception for Shepard from 1 to 3 p.m. on August 14.