Martha Oatway grew up in Maine amid glacial erratics in farmers’ fields, stone walls and granite quarries.The waves pounding on gneiss and granite outcrops along the coast of Maine are part of her soul. She earned her MFA at the University of Central Lancashire, Preston, UK in 2016. Since moving to Asheville, NC in 2017 she’s been working with the geology and orogeny of the Blue Ridge Mountains.

Her work has been exhibited domestically and internationally in solo and group exhibitions. She is represented in the collections of the International Print Triennial, Krakow, Poland; National Institutes of Health, Washington, DC; Georgetown University; Bates College Museum of Art and others both private and public.


My current work responds to the geology of the Blue Ridge Mountains, the unseen landscape. The Blue Ridge Mountain range contains the vestiges of the Grenville mountains which existed one billion years ago. Continents collided and parted, the Grenville mountains wore down, the Blue Ridge mountains rose up. 

My monoprints illustrate what might have been or may be, the inner core of our Blue Ridge environment. They are about seeing the unseen landscape and exemplify the idea of peering into the side of a mountain.

Using collagraphs made from simple substances such as glue, carborundum, and marble dust, I create abstracted mini landscapes. I  layer the plates into multiple images, each different and yet related. My current prints move beyond the surface of the land to burrow into the seams of rock lurking below the tree line.

My prints are slices of imagined geology. By using multiple collagraph plates I can layer imagery on both sides of thin Mulberry paper.  The ink often bleeds from one side through the paper into the different image on the other side, mimicking layers of molten rock and minerals. Much as the Blue Ridge Mountain masses were formed over time, my prints are created over time

The unseen becomes seen.  Time becomes visible.