Carolyn Jean Martin is a writer, educator, and artist born in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. She attended the San Francisco Art Institute where she received an MA in the History and Theory of Contemporary Art and an MFA in painting.
Her writing practice interrogates the impact of philosophy and aesthetic traditions on the construction of race and identity, with an emphasis on articulations of Blackness in the Western visual field. Recent essays include “Andrea Brustolon and Kerry James Marshall: Visualizations of Blackness” and “Becoming Monumental: The Contemporary State of Black Female Subjectivity.” Academic interests include African American Art and Aesthetics, Global Perspectives on Modern and Contemporary Art, and Visual Culture Intersections of Modern and Contemporary Politics and Aesthetics.
Her art practice combines installation art, sculpture, and painting to create work that examines and challenges narratives of ‘Americanness’ and contemporary culture in the United States. Her work has appeared in exhibitions in Guangzhou, China; Montréal, Canada; San Francisco, California; and Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.
In February 2021 Carolyn was in conversation with K. Wayne Yang addressing Visions and Strategies for Academic Futures at the UC Berkeley History of Art Department. Additionally, she was a co-chair of the panel discussion “Reframing Aesthetics: Diaspora, Historicity, and The Myth of Truth” at the College Art Association conference.
In December 2020 the publication THREE from Radius Books was released in which she contributed a written response to the artwork of Deborah Roberts.