The Cycle Of Daylight On Urban Landscapes

Babette Martino's paintings featured at Saint Joseph's University Gallery

Wednesday, December 19, 2007

PHILADELPHIA (December 19, 2007) - Paintings of local urban towns open the first exhibit of 2008 at Saint Joseph's University Gallery, Jan. 14 – Feb. 13.  Titled Recent Paintings, the work of renowned painter Babette Martino features works of oil on panel. This exhibit marks the Gallery's sole display of paintings for the 07-08 season. A reception for the artist will be held Friday, Jan. 25, 6-8 p.m.

Martino is known for her quiet, muted approach to vacant townscapes and their environs, captured by a palette limited to 12 colors, including white. If people are represented in her work, it is usually a lone figure dwarfed by surrounding architecture. The vistas of local Pennsylvania towns and boroughs – including Conshohocken, Norristown and Manayunk – feature row homes, businesses and the urban infrastructure of streets, bridges and highways, and capture an environment of loneliness and solitude imbued by a study of light.

"Early morning light is portrayed on the horizon and progressively changes to mid-day in the foreground with extended shadows," she said. "I call the light element in my paintings 'extended' light, for lack of a better term. Time is prolonged, sustained, continued or perpetual. This is the opposite of Impressionism, which captures a moment of time."

The artist paints small oils in her car, and continues the work in her studio without the help of a photograph of the subject, until the painting is completed. The painting may also be enlarged in her studio. Her style is informed by a mastery of formal technique and is noted for a relative lack of texture. Though her work is realistic in tone, line and shape are simplified to contribute to a sense of drama.

"Martino's precise lines and soft colors make her desolate scenes seem idyllic," said associate gallery director Jeanne Bracy. "Her depiction of area towns and landscapes will strike a chord of familiarity with the community."

Martino is a member of a family of Philadelphia painters, including her sister, mother, late father and uncles. She has received over 90 awards and honors including a National Endowment for the Arts Fellowship Grant, a Fellowship Grant from the Pollock-Krasner Foundation and a Pew Fellowship in the Arts. Her work is in several prestigious collections including Art in the Embassies – State Department, Washington, D.C., Fellowship of the Pennsylvania Academy of Fine Arts, Philadelphia, Pa., Butler Institute of American Art, Youngstown, Ohio, and Woodmere Art Museum, Philadelphia. She has shown her work nationally in solo exhibitions and internationally in group exhibitions.

A resident of Blue Bell, Pa., Martino earned a Master of Fine Arts from the Instituto Allende of the University of Guanajuato, San Miguel de Allende, Mexico; a Bachelor of Arts from the Tyler School of Art in Philadelphia, and a diploma from L'Accademia di Belle Arti in Firenze, Italy. She also studied with her parents, Giovanni Martino and Eva Marinelli, and at the Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts, Philadelphia.

The Saint Joseph's University Gallery is located in Boland Hall on Lapsley Lane, off of City Avenue, between 54th Street & Cardinal Avenue in Lower Merion. Hours are Monday through Friday, 10 a.m. - 4 p.m. For more information, call 610-660-1840, or access

Media Contact

Patricia Allen, Associate Director of University Communications, 610-660-3240,

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