Galerie Rodolphe Janssen is pleased to present its first solo show of his new artist Chris Martin (born 1954, USA)
Pushing the boundaries between the most sophisticated formalism and outsider art’s instinctive logic, Chris Martin makes abstract painting look enviably effortless. His large scale canvases reflect a zany approach to experimentation and a methodological mode of play, conceiving painting as something intrinsically haptic that resolves from an intimately hands-on negotiation of materials. India, the exploration of psychedelics in the 1970’s and his 15 years job as an art therapist for AIDS patients in New York highly influenced his work. Chris Martin’s works are renowned for their extremely physical surfaces which are created by collaging found items onto the canvas. In the newspaper serie, Martin is constantly questioning the boundaries between high art, kid’s art, sidewalk art, folk art or just scrap of newspaper he found on the sidewalk or on the floor of his studio. In the glitter serie, the painting’s texture is made of glitter with a bold graphic motif of a constellation network, Martin references the connective processes of making, placing his topsy-turvy rationale as a field of wonder and contemplation. Chris Martin is, as his outsiders mentors Forrest Bess, Albert Pinkhlam Ryder or Myron Stout, an artist who «work from inner necessity», showing us with generosity that art is not only a product of education or of the market but it can bring us inside ourselves.
«It’s a huge struggle to find freedom and make painting real. There is no intrinsic value in painting. It’s never valuable because it’s well made, or because it’s beautiful like fine furniture. The only true value is communication. If it transmits energy than it serves its purpose.. (...) These forms come from a long process of unconscious drawing. Then there is this desire to see it paint - a kind of compulsive curiosity that drives me to choose colors, mix up buckets of paint, and prepare a surface. The actual performing of painting involves giving oneself over to a series of actions and trusting in the body and what the body knows. And when I step back to look at this thing, I’m still trying to figure it ut just like everybody else.» Excerpted from Art in conversation, Chris Martin with Craig Olson, by Craig Olson, in The Brooklyn Rail, 2008
«Martin is a firm believer in the beauty and surprise of chance operations, in knowing and not being sure of what he is doing at any given moment. His approach is at the same time serious, playful, and playfully serious. (…) Martin’s vehicle is unquestionably painting, its history and those he identifies with as its key spiritual practitioners, and in quoting from them he is enfolding their visual language with his own, simultaneously conversing with these artists and being inside of his own head. In this sense, painting is equally a means for him to lose and find himself, over and over again.» Excerpted from Chris Martin: In the Mind’s Eye, by Bob Nickas; Chris Martin: Staring at the Sun, published by the Verlag der Buchhandlung Walther König, 2011