205. Objects and People

Martha Jungwirth's Indesit series, named after the Italian appliance manufacturer, originated from a pivotal 1975 trip to New York City when she was 35. Jungwirth was profoundly influenced by the city's monumental architecture and a visit to MoMA where she saw an exhibition of Mies van der Rohe’s large-scale charcoal drawings. This experience prompted Jungwirth to transition from the watercolors she had been working with to an economical approach working in charcoal, graphite, and pastel dust. In New York's architectural landscape, she found an affinity with the structural nature of everyday items, like dishwashers and washing machines, seeing them as metaphors for urban edifices. This insight sparked an extensive exploration of incorporating ordinary objects into her artistic vernacular.

Over the next decade, Jungwirth’s medium shifted to watercolors and oils, embracing randomness and experimentation. Despite her abstract leanings, portraiture and self-portraiture are recurring subjects within her work, as she blends human figures with her signature expressive brushstrokes and vivid colors. The artist has asserted, “My aim was not for people to recognize objects in my work but to paint so that identification is impossible, allowing for the unknown, where gesture and personal expression prevail.” This approach subverts traditional portraiture norms, focusing on capturing the subject's essence and character beyond mere physical likeness.