Jude Conlon Martin

Bronze Trio, Jude Conlon Martin - Embedded
Bronze Trio
Each Figure Approximately
13” H X 6” W X 9” D
Access Living Art Collection
Gift Of The Artist
A Chicago native, Jude Conlon Martin received her Master’s in Fine Art/Art Therapy from the School of the Art Institute of Chicago, writing her master’s thesis on “The Other” in images of disability. Martin did her internship at Access Living, and was an art therapist at the Rehabilitation Institute of Chicago. She then, along with Evelyn Rodriguez, ran the M&M Roll Model Mentoring Program for the Women with Disabilities Center at RIC. A strong Feminist, she was affiliated with Chicago’s women’s artist community, and served on the mayoral Disability Culture committee that created the Bodies of Work Festival in 2006. She had a spinal cord disability from the age of 16, which greatly shaped her views on beauty, acceptance and disability. Jude Conlon Martin died in the summer of 2007.

These bronze figures conjure up other trios; three graces, three witches, three monkeys, three muses and three sisters. How one perceives the women depends literally on one’s perspective. Seen from one side, they seem to be sitting in simple wooden chairs. But if the viewer changes position and looks from the other angle, it’s revealed that they are seated in wheelchairs. As the viewer moves around the sculptures, the identity of the figures seem to shift, from able-bodied to disabled. In one moment they look like they are coiled up, waiting impatiently – then they transform into women musing on our assumptions about them. Even the way that their faces are sculpted is ambiguous and open to interpretation. Age, race and emotional expression shift with the angle of the viewer as well. Taken together, this installation is a powerful evocation of the way that the visible trappings of disability can distort our ability to see each other clearly, while simultaneously averring the fact that disability is a core aspect of public identity.