Talley Gallery presents ink and watercolor works of Martha Iserman

BEMIDJI, Minn. — The Talley Gallery at Bemidji State University will present the works of emerging ink and watercolor artist Martha Iserman in a show entitled “Rare Specimens: Aquatic Portraits from the Deep Sea,” beginning Monday, Oct. 29.

After graduating from a visual arts high school, Iserman earned a bachelor of fine arts degree in printmaking from the University of Minnesota. She describes herself as having an “odd and unsubstantiated fear/obsession of sharks and the sea” that has influenced her work.

Referring to her latest drawings as “aquatic oddities,” Iserman’s intense fear of water combined with a fascination with science and biology has led her to these works of sea creatures both real and imagined. This series of ink drawings and mixed media paintings depict fictional animals she has created through research of marine biology.

The drawings are about maintaining a sense of the fantastic in biological science, misinterpreting real creature’s forms to configure her own animals and show both the naturalistic and decorative elements of biology.

“The theme of my work refers to the times in human history when the natural world was not so far separated from religion and magic,” Iserman said. “My influences include technical and educational sources such as botanical illustration and biology texts, as well as old prints describing processes of mysticism and alchemy. Ultimately, these drawings are about the curiosity that leads us to discoveries in the natural world that are both beautiful and disturbing.”

Iserman’s show will run through Nov. 20.

Located in the Education Arts building on the campus of Bemidji State University, the Talley Gallery is open Monday through Thursday from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m., on Fridays from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. and Saturdays from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. The gallery is barrier-free and is open at no charge to the public.

For more information, contact Talley Gallery Director Laura Goliaszewski at (218) 755-3708.


Oct. 29 – Nov. 20
– Bemidji State University’s Talley Gallery presents “Rare Specimens: Aquatic Portraits from the Deep Sea,” an ink and watercolors show by Martha Iserman. Call (218) 755-3708 for gallery hours or for more information.