Born in 1953 in Kansas City, Missouri, Martha was the youngest in the family, and the only girl. The family moved from Kansas City to St. Louis, Missouri, followed by Carmel California, and Seattle Washington, all by the time Martha was eight years old. The Walkers moved to Sweden for three years, starting in 1961, spending one full year in a remote forest location. After this, Martha landed back in the United States, attending both junior high and high school in Miami Beach, Florida before her move to Brooklyn, New York, where she attended Pratt Institute from 1971-1976, majoring in sculpture and drawing. Martha stayed in Brooklyn, going back for her Masters Degree at Pratt Institute from 1999 – 2001, where she graduated with honors. She is now a Brooklyn native, married with two children.
Her father was a nuclear physicist, specializing in medical research. Martha frequented the research laboratory, viewing microorganisms under the microscope, something that she sites to this day as an influence on her abstract visual perspective. Additionally, Martha’s middle brother, David, was an avid painter, who “raised the bar” for her artistically.
Other influences came from the frequent relocations as a child. The most obvious was the disparate geography that she observed, from the American Plains, to the Pacific Coast and mountain ranges, along with the rich Swedish forests, followed by the Atlantic Ocean and sandy beaches in Florida. However, cultural influences were also important. In almost every new place, Martha became aware of what it meant to be an outsider, looking in, especially in Europe, where she became acquainted with Jewish children whose parents were survivors of the Holocaust. This had a profound effect on her, even as a nonreligious Jew, resulting occasionally in work with themes of Jewish identity and the Holocaust.
When asked, Martha will tell you that she considers herself to be an emerging artist. Her business career over the course of her lifetime enabled her to establish a financial foundation for raising a family. When she returned to school in 1999, she started welding again, and with her financial situation improved, Martha established her first welding studio in 2001. It is in the interim that she has created her entire body of work.
Working for hours on end with a torch and molten metal, flowing orange, and shooting sparks like exploding lava, has a hypnotic effect. Time both stands still and intensifies. I am meditating and still, yet aware of the passage of the time I must spend to produce these large forms, built by adding one drop of metal upon another, as if it were wax, evolving bit by bit into a body of work that represents my life, my reality; my world.
The resulting abstract forms, flowing metal frozen by the natural cooling process, are my way of giving homage to the medium in which I work. They represent my personal statement, derived from my own subliminal images. These organic looking objects, at once aquatic and microbiological, are testimony to the repetitious nature of the universe, from the structure of the atom to the formation of the planets and the galaxies, our world moves from micro to macrocosm with incredible ease and fluency.