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Elise Marie Martin is an inter-disciplinary artist based in Detroit, MI, USA. She seeks to make work which encourages engagement and interaction, while questioning our relationship with objects. Martin received her BFA from the College for Creative Studies, and her MFA from Wayne State University.

Her studio practice is complemented by her work in art education and art-based community programs. She has taught at Wayne State University and the College for Creative Studies, and she has worked alongside several non-profit organizations locally, to provide art classes in public schools, neighborhood libraries and parks. 

   Inspired by practices of empathy, comfort, and care, her art invites viewers into visceral experiences that provoke introspection and connection.

    Elise often incorporates representations of her body into her artwork, leveraging personal narrative as a catalyst for empathy. Through interactive sculptures and installations, she crafts environments that encourage audience engagement and contemplation, fostering moments of shared experience and understanding.

   In her recent series, "Use Me," Elise delves into the complexities of empathy and introversion, creating furniture objects in her own likeness designed to fulfill both physical and emotional needs. Each piece serves as a surrogate, offering comfort and companionship in her absence, while inviting viewers to explore notions of intimacy and support.

   Similarly, in "Let Me Comfort You," a photo series characterized by whimsical low-fi props and face paint, Elise assumes the guise of various comfort objects, challenging perceptions of caregiving and reciprocity. Through playful disguise, she prompts reflection on the often overlooked gestures of care.

In the Uncanny Vessel series, Elise uses second-hand women's clothing and encaustic beeswax, to sculpt vessels symbolic of the resilient women in her life, who bear the weight of responsibility with grace and fortitude. These vessels are meant to serve as reminders of the unseen labor and emotional labor that sustains communities.

   Elise's current explorations delve into the intersection of empathy, comfort, and care in our relationship with the natural world. Inspired by her experiences in the garden, she contemplates the reciprocal nature of comfort, recognizing the interconnectedness of human experience with the land that sustains us and acknowledging how often her own comfort is placed in opposition with nature. Through her art, Elise invites us to reconsider our place within this intricate web of relationships, fostering a deeper sense of empathy and stewardship for both humanity and the environment.

Awards and Residencies:

2021 Artistic Merit Scholarship, Wayne State University, Detroit MI

2021 Artist in Residence, Mission Street Arts Jemez

2021 Art in Response to the Covid-19 Pandemic Mini Grant Recipient, Wayne State Department of Arts and Humanities, Detroit MI 

2020-2021 Wayne State University Graduate Research Assistantship, Detroit MI

2019-2020 Wayne State University Graduate Teaching Assistantship, Detroit MI 

2019 Touchstone Center for Arts and Crafts Scholarship Recipient, Farmington PA 

2019 Spoonflower Student Project Grant Recipient 

2018 Best in Show Award, 96th Annual All Media Exhibition, Ann Arbor Art Center, Ann Arbor MI 

2017-18 Teaching Artist Residency, ProjectArt and Detroit Public Libraries, Detroit MI 

2016 Teaching Artist Residency with Mt. Clemens Public HS and The Anton Art Center, Mt. Clemens MI 

2015-19 Artist in Residence at Fortress Studios, Detroit MI 

2012- Gastatelierprogramm Artist Fellowship and Residency at ATELIERFRANKFURT, Frankfurt a.M. Germany

Select Exhibitions:

2023- When Nature Calls, Public Pool Art Space, Hamtramck MI

2023- Staff Exhibition, College for Creative Studies- Vallade Family Galleries, Detroit MI

2023- GRAPEFRUIT!!!, Public Pool Art Space, Hamtramck MI

2023- Michigan Glass Project- Visual Artists Live, Detroit MI

2023- Running on Flower Power, Glastonbury Collective, Detroit MI

2022- SHARING SPACE, A2AC Gallery, Ann Arbor MI

2022- An Observation of Comfort Objects, Collective Behaviors, Detroit MI

2022- INBODY/EMBODIED, WSU Art Department Gallery, Detroit, MI

2022- Don't Sleep on Detroit, site specific installation and clothing line launch, New York, NY

2022- Pineapples!  Public Pool Art Space, Hamtramck, MI

2021- Work From Home, The Scarab Club, Detroit, MI 

2020- RAW International MFA Exhibition, University of Montana, Missoula, MT 

2020- Excellence in Fibers, The Scarab Club, Detroit, MI 

2020- All Media Exhibition, Detroit Artist's Market, Detroit, MI 

2019- Durable/Flexible, Popps Packing, Hamtramck MI 

2019- First We Shape the Tools, Then the Tools Shape Us, Corktown Studios, Detroit MI 

2019- Michigan Glass Project, The Russel Industrial Center, Detroit MI 

2019- Annual All Media Exhibition, Detroit Artists Market, Detroit MI 

2019- Night of 1000 Cocks, Public Pool Art Space, Hamtramck MI 

2018- 96th Annual All Media Exhibition, Ann Arbor Art Center, Ann Arbor MI 

2018- Making Spaces Home, Black Box Gallery, Dearborn, MI 

2018- Lemons!, Public Pool Gallery, Hamtramck, MI 

2018- Contemporary Portraiture, Black Box Gallery, Dearborn, MI 

2018- The Residence, Holding House, Detroit, MI 

2018- Exhibitchin, Public Pool Gallery, Hamtramck, MI 

2018- Re/VEIW: A CCS Alumni Exhibition, Valade Family Gallery, Detroit, MI 

2017- Lounge of Saturn, Popps Packing, Hamtramck, MI

2017- Einfuhlung, Hatch Art/Cafe 1923, Hamtamck, MI

2017- Millennial Musings- Caroline Del Guidice and Elise Martin, Hatch Art, Hamtramck, MI

2017- Fortress Studios Residents' Exhibition, Cass Cafe, Detroit, MI

2017- Michigan Annual XLIV, Anton Art Center, Mt. Clemens, MI

2017- 8bit, Whitdell Arts, Hatch Art, Hamtramck, MI 

2017- Tunnel of Love; Into the Portal, Pikes Gallery, East Pointe, MI 

2017- Michigan Annual XLIV, Anton Art Center, Mt. Clemens, MI 

2016- Detroit Beinalle, MONA, Armada, MI 

2016- Women; an Art Exhibition, North End Studios, Detroit, MI

2016- Faculty Exhibition, Anton Art Center, Mt. Clemens, MI 

2016- CUPS, Detroit Artist Market, Detroit, MI 

2016- Re/VEIW: A CCS Alumni Exhibition, Valade Family Gallery, Detroit, MI 

2016- AND ONCE UPON A TIME: FAIRYTALES, FABLES, & MYTHS, Ellington-White Contemporary Gallery, Fayettville, NC 

2016- Women; an Art Exhibition, North End Studios, Detroit, MI 

2015- LOT (Lack of Tranmission Toronto), Lansdowne, Toronto, ON and North End Studios, Detroit, MI 

2015-The Selfie Show, Museum of New Media, Troy, MI 

2014-Dlectricity- Nighttime exhibition of Art + Light, Detroit, MI 

2013- Issues With Empathy, North End Studios, Detroit, MI

2012- Han(ds) Sel(f) (re)Gret All, Atelier Frankfurt, Frankfurt a. M, Germany





"Scarab Club opened a new show this week, Work from Home: Voices on Identity and the Domestic. Among the varied work are soft sculptures by Elise Martin, who created a series of vessels out of stiffened clothing. The way the material sags and flops, proving to be poor at their job of being a kettle or pitcher, is engaging. Like putting a toddler in formal wear, the effect is charming because we know it is destined for ruin. The richly colorful materials are in contrast to the materials we Michiganders wear, particularly in the winter, making these feel exotic or from another time period. They are satisfying in their absurdity. "

-Art Workers Local #7, January 2021

 Review by Chris Schnieder


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