Presley Martin is an artist that lives and works in Minneapolis. His work questions commonly held assumptions about the environment. Based on countless hours of direct field observations his works take many forms including sculptures, installations, photographs and performances. Presley has an MFA in sculpture from San José State University and a BA in art history from the University of Pittsburgh.
With the precariousness of our environmental situation ever more apparent, the cultural discourse surrounding our place in the environment is still dominated by an outdated paradigm. My works present images, forms, and performances that are contrary to the dominant environmental discourse surrounding so called invasive plants and animals. They highlight the inseparability of natural and man-made phenomena.
The work provides documentation of the pockets or gaps in the urban metropolitan environment, under freeways, along rivers, so called waste places. These are places where the disaffected, and homeless congregate, and also where nature stakes a claim. Most of the plants and animals that are willing and able to grow in such places are non-native. Plants and animals that have wandered the globe and taken up residence far from where they originated. It should be pointed out that the movement of plants and animals is tied directly to the movement of people. The need, proclaimed by some, to eradicate these species must be viewed in this broader context of intimate human/plant and animal connections. These “invasive” species are global citizens of the non-human world. The places they occupy are the newest “wild” places, and they are precisely the breeding ground of a new relationship with the environment and way out of our environmental predicament. These works are examples, sign-posts on the path to a future where our culture no longer suffers an invisible impoverishment because of looming environmental catastrophe. If our culture is to survive we will need a blossoming of empathy for all living creatures.