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By Shantell Martin and Hans Ulrich Obrist
240 pages, hardcover, £35
Published by HENI Publishing
henipublishing.com

Shantell Martin: Lines is a 237-page tome filled with, well, lines. For more than ten years, artist and illustrator Shantell Martin has doodled around the world, and this new monograph shows her larger-than-life installations at venues like New York City’s Lincoln Center for the Performing Arts and San Francisco’s Chandran Gallery. Her work is distinctive: She usually draws bold, black strokes that slither around one another atop the lily-white surfaces of walls, textiles and sculptures. She often augments these lines with faces and philosophical phrases such as “WHO ARE YOU, YOU ARE YOU, ARE YOU YOU.” The book does an excellent job of explaining Martin’s conceptual choices—an essay by curator Katharine Stout describes how the illustrator’s work raises poignant questions on language and identity, while a conversation between Martin and curator Hans Ulrich Obrist outlines how Martin’s pieces relate to those of other artists like Alexander Calder and Keith Haring. These texts help readers to understand Martin’s oeuvre and trace her story from her origins in Thamesmead, United Kingdom, to her current practice in Brooklyn, New York. Though the book does a remarkable job of chronicling Martin’s work, it only features one scholarly essay placing her oeuvre in the context of a larger art-historical canon. It would have been nice to read about the development of Martin’s practice alongside other contemporary and historical work. Still, Lines offers a captivating glimpse at the illustrator’s artistic creations and gives readers a chance to see snapshots of her most famous creations. —Isis Davis-Marks

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