What interests Martin – whose pictures are full of human presence but devoid of humans – is not the mundane or the abject, but how habitation seems only to amplify the emptiness of the land itself. In this respect she extends Edward Hopper’s lonely realms into the context of “new topographic” photography.

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In Back of Beyond, Martin immortalizes a 21st century desert struggle against destruction, and her lamentation for the disappearing landscape is also a praise song to the improbable power of endurance, tenacity, and longing.Painter Deborah Martin has established a compelling dominion as portraitist of an archaic America – ravaged sites and forgotten wastelands that nonetheless resist destruction. Her luminous paintings and photographs reveal the beauty in the bleak, and speak to the tenuous balance between home, depravation, isolation, community and hope.

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For decades, artists have come to the sea to put their stamp on its waters. In April, the Salton Sea History Museum in the restored North Shore Yacht Club opened its inaugural exhibition, Valley of the Ancient Lake: Works Inspired by the Salton Sea.

Curated by Deborah Martin (with historical works and memorabilia provided by Jennie Kelly), the exhibition features 10 artists who focus their work on the sea. To contextualize their paintings, drawings, and photographs, it’s helpful to know they follow the path of several generations of artists.

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