On view at David Kordansky Gallery, Los Angeles is a solo show of new paintings by Chris Martin. Martin is a key figure in contemporary American painting, and an abiding influence on a generation of younger artists. Since the 1980s he has created an expansive, open-ended, and constantly evolving body of work that eschews limits of every kind. His experiments challenge established ideas about physical scale; about the roles played by mediums, materials and techniques; and more broadly about what a painting is and how it functions as endeavor and artifact. But equally important are the ways in which his experimentation––and the abstract geometries and visual rhythms it engenders––permits access to unexpected spiritual and psychological dimensions, so that seeing can foster intimacy with the unseen.
In this sense, Martin’s work exemplifies a ritualistic approach to painting as a category of human endeavor, and intersects with a surprising array of cultural antecedents from many disciplines (including seemingly ‘outsider’ practices and religious iconographies). It also suggests that abstraction in painting is not necessarily part of a linear evolution of forms and intentions, but rather participation in a much broader activity comprised of Western and non-Western traditions alike. The abstract expressionists are important forebears, of course, but so are figures like James Brown, Forrest Bess, and Alfred Jensen, whose names have made recurring appearances in the work.
These objects and forms serve as bridges between the otherworldly, psychedelic, and shamanic power of the compositions and the materiality and popular (even populist) accessibility of everyday life. They also help create the sense that the paintings, as a whole, are illustrative of a world that derives equal pleasure from its outward as well as its latent manifestations.
Chris Martin’s solo exhibition will be on view through November 9th, 2013.
For more information visit David Kordansky Gallery, Los Angeles.