Art in Architecture: Passage | Maxine Martell

March 9, 2023

Maxine Martell 1988 "Passage"

In 1988, GSA commissioned Maxine Martell to create an architectural arts piece for the Kenneth G. Ward Land Port of Entry in Lynden, Washington. The artwork, Passage, is categorized as architectural arts and is on opposing glass panels flanking the main entrance to the port offices.

Swirling around the entrance of the border station are highly animated, brightly colored translucent images of people. Their almost-life-size hopping and running forms do not refer to specific people and are not bound by rigid outlines. Instead the figures appear buoyant and flexible. They act as a guide on where to enter the building and reflect the vitality of the residents of the United States and Canada.

Maxine Martell_Passage2

The artwork consists of handmade glass pieces created by “mouth blowing” the molten glass. There are two glass panels, each 94 x 22 x 3/4 inches. The commercial tempered glass is laminated with silicone rubber and enclosed by painted steel mullions.

Maxine Martell was born in Muskogee, Oklahoma in 1937. She received a Bachelor of Arts degree from Fort Wright College in Spokane, Washington, and a Master of Fine Arts degree from the University of Washington in Seattle in 1962. Martell lives and works on Whidbey Island and maintains a studio annex in Seattle.

Throughout the years, Martell has created drawings, prints, paintings, and glass installations. Her work can be seen at the Seattle/Tacoma International Airport and in the collections of the Kobe Art Museum in Japan, Pratt Graphic Art Center in New York, and Nordstrom stores across the United States. Washington State collections include Microsoft, Gonzaga University, the Museum of Arts and Culture in Spokane, the Museum of Northwest Art in La Conner, and the Henry Art Gallery at the University of Washington.

Throughout the year, we will highlight the artists and art in Region 10’s federal and leased spaces as we celebrate the 50th anniversary of GSA's Art in Architecture program.

Last Reviewed: 2023-03-28