< Martyna Alexander
United States



Alexander graduated from the University of Michigan Stamps School of Art & Design in 2012 with a focus in graphic design and painting. She ventured into the professional design world where she spent most of her career working in luxury product retail companies like Whirlpool, Shinola Detroit, and Apple. Just as the pandemic started she then found herself jaded with the consumer world she was a part of and was craving something less superficial, less practical – something that was actually personally satisfying and engaged with healing. She wanted something that aligned with her beliefs but that also allowed her to explore them and connect with other as well. This was exactly when painting went from something executed more as a craft outside of design to something prioritized and as a conceptual necessity. She painted her first serious body of work that year and exhibited in a few group shows during the pandemic and put on her first solo show herself that fall in a friend’s space. The next spring in 2022, she had her first solo show in a gallery at Playground Detroit. The show was called Fields and had a huge impact on her art career. Since then she has been painting and doing select design projects to make a living and is constantly looking for ways to keep painting aligned with those initial meridians that brought her so much relief and purpose in the first place. This year she’s participated in a few more group shows in-person and virtually; she’s attended Almost Perfect, a residency in Japan that influenced her practice greatly – focusing the work on the materials that were inspired by the place; and has commissioned work hanging in businesses and homes around Detroit and the country.



My work generally explores visual dichotomies which mirror the many polarities that exist in the challenges of modern life and our relationship to the environment. I’m interested in the chaos or balance these divisions create. The visual systems I play with are directly related to our sense of control as humans, one aspect being our desire to control and own everything including our natural environment. Our obsessive implementation of organized construction diminishes our society’s relationship to nature and then we seek it again elsewhere or created anew.

The artworks aren’t meant to be a literal representation or a solution to these systems. They are the reaction of subconscious feelings left over after a life of constant structuralization, logical thought, and nature-less perfection. The paintings show me dealing with my own polarity – finding pleasure in both the clean, structured & organized as well as the wild, ornate, and spontaneous intuition. The breaking of an assumption of what is “perfect” or meant to be – what is “right”. I focus on abstract work that sometimes includes figurative elements painted in realism. I try to push my materials – leaning into the contrast by juxtaposing organic textures and colors with those that are synthetic or rigid.