New post on The Artist's Periscope
by artperiscopeIn a world that is more and more removed and isolated, where finding contact and gesture and movement, both abstract and emotional, is increasingly difficult, Donald Martiny's expressively lyrical solo, Gestures, at Madison Gallery in La Jolla, California is refreshingly immediate.Alanic, 2014, Polymer and dispersed pigment on aluminum, 55 x 44 inchesOne is instantly struck by the work's visceral movement and vibrant color. But it would be too easy to reduce these forms to simply a discussion of color and flow. These enlarged brushlike strokes, formed from polymer and saturated pigment, are visual poems. They are the painterly equivalent of a verbal haiku, deceptively lean, but on reflection as complex as breath. The simplified structure allows the viewer to look deeper. The swaths of undulating paint, dotted with streaks of hidden color and seemingly random trace gesture, draw us closer, enticing us with their history. And the sensual , almost liquid quality of the forms woos us, like the touch of someones hand on bare skin, light but electric, the movement fleeting but the sensation enduring. The touch simple in form but resonant in understanding. That sensation is rare in this world of detachment. But as these paintings attest, and as has been said many times, "the simplest gesture is the most profound." It is indeed.Left: Togoyo, 2014, Polymer and dispersed pigment on aluminum, 68 x 43 inchesRight: Kore, 2015, Polymer and dispersed pigment on aluminum, 59 x 44 inchesTogoyo, 2014, Polymer and dispersed pigment on aluminum, 68 x 43 inchesKore, 2015, Polymer and dispersed pigment on aluminum, 59 x 44 inchesFrom left: Kott, 2015, Polymer and dispersed pigment on aluminum, 88 x 5 inchesOfo, 2015, Polymer and dispersed pigment on aluminum. 77 x 3 inchesWeyto, 2014 Polymer and dispersed pigment on aluminum. 91 x 46 inchesWeyto, 2014 Polymer and dispersed pigment on aluminum. 91 x 46 inchesNgbee, 2015, Polymer and dispersed pigment on aluminum. 44 x 90 inchesLaua, 2015, Polymer and dispersed pigment on aluminum, 76 x 77 inches
Tuesday, April 29, 2014
In the 1950s, artists like Jackson Pollock and Franz Kline elevated the gesture to the position of the protagonist in abstract expressionism. In the 21st century, Donald Martiny advances that idea considerably further by freeing the gesture of gestural abstraction from the substrate which, heretofore, provided the context that brought gesture to life. Working with polymers and dispersed pigments, Mr. Martiny has developed a methodology that enables him to isolate his sumptuous, almost sculptural, brushstrokes and lift them off the page, so to speak. The nature of his material is such that Mr. Martiny can work in a much larger scale than if he were dependent on a canvas surface; indeed, each singular brushstroke might range from two- to as much as six-feet in length. Installed, these compelling monochromatic gestures immediately breathe a new kind of life into the gallery space.
Historically, Mr. Martiny’s work to date fits right into the continuum of monochromatic painting, a contemporary reductive movement which has advanced the concerns and broadened the interests of the classic Minimalists of the 1960s and of the much earlier Suprematists, who openly sought the ‘death of painting” with their monochromatic efforts. Mr. Martiny, belongs to a family of painters which includes such luminaries as Kazimir Malevich, Alexander Rodchenko, Ad Reinhardt, Barnett Newman, Frank Stella, and Olivier Mossett. Quite amazingly, each of these distinguished artists brought something noticeably different to this admittedly singular and restrictive approach to painting. Prior to Mr. Martiny, though, each of these other great painters relied on manipulating the relationship between canvas and pigment to achieve subtle, nuanced differences in each painting. Mr. Martiny has greatly expanded the painterly agenda by taking the brushstroke completely off the canvas entirely. I applaud his commitment to furthering the monochromatic agenda and his ability to make fresh, new work that acknowledges, rather than negates, decades of previous good work. Rather than hastening the death of painting as Rodchenko forecast, monochromatic painting has already enjoyed a long life line and, in the hands of Donald Martiny, is clearly alive and well.
Charles A. Shepard III
President and CEO
Fort Wayne Museum of Art