Martha McDonald makes performances and installations that feature handcrafted costumes and objects, which she activates through movement and song. She often develops site-specific interventions grounded in deep research into collections, archives, and historic material practices; and in response to the physical site. McDonald has developed work in historic house museums, botanic gardens, a Victorian cemetery, a construction waste recycling facility, and a small boat journeying down a river.
Her work has shown internationally at Brotfabrik, Berlin; Linden Centre for Contemporary Arts, Melbourne, Australia; Elizabeth Bay House, Sydney; the Tamworth Textile Triennial, which traveled throughout Australia; and Aberdeen Art Gallery & Museum, Aberdeen, Scotland. Nationally, her work has been shown at the Smithsonian National Portrait Gallery, Black Mountain College Museum + Arts Center, the John Michael Kohler Arts Center, Evergreen Museum & Library at Johns Hopkins University, RAIR (Recycled Artists in Residence), The Museum of American Glass at WheatonArts, The Woodlands cemetery, and The Rosenbach Museum & Library. She received an MFA from Monash University, Melbourne, Australia. McDonald lives and works in Philadelphia, PA.