60" x 36"
(b. 1941 – Cleveland, OH) Martha Cliffel uses found objects and scraps to create intricate assemblages that range from sincere objects to tongue-in-cheek play with words and social expectations. By scouring flea markets and thrift stores, Cliffel compiles a collection of once cherished objects from which to build her constructions. In her hands, drift wood is adorned with fabrics and transformed into dolls, and mass-produced figurines and oddly juxtaposed trinkets are carefully arranged on shadow box shelves. Religious iconography and powerful homages to social justice leaders recur in her work.
In this sculpture, the artist has created a gift of peace and remembrance for a church she visited in El Mozote, El Salvador, while serving on a medical missions trip. Years ago, children were enclosed and massacred within the church, a devastating guerilla warfare tactic intended to eradicate any oppositional spirit in the village.
Cliffel is a lifelong Cleveland resident, whose artistic career spans multiple decades. Her work can be found in the collection of University Hospitals and has been exhibited in numerous locations around Northeast Ohio, including Heights Arts and Lakewood Public Library.