On view this month at Anton Kern Gallery in New York, artist Chris Martin presents a body of new works that continue the artist’s luminous, colorful approach towards the painted canvas, and the continued relationships of scale that flow through so many of the artist’s works. On view on the first floor of the gallery space, a series of large-scale canvases and a smaller painting made in tribute to the late Lance De Los Reyes, present night skies, washes of color and surreal moments of explosive energy in a set of explorations of energy and space.
Images and depictions of the cosmos are a uniting thread among all of the paintings: inky night skies, planets, constellations, stars, and moons, continung a relationship between deep space and the landscapes in the near field. The artist, who has long drawn inspiration from time spent in the Catskills, where he would follow patterns and movements in the land and its wildlife, here takes those same iconographies and applies them towards unique expressions of space.
The influence is clear in all of these new works, a number of which were painted in his Catskills studio. The five paintings in the gallery’s back atrium are all atmospheric skyscapes—some seeming to directly depict the constellations and night sky of the open woods and fields. It is not only nature found in these works, but the influence of Brooklyn, music, and pop culture are also evident—in Telescope Sphinx in Outer Space, for example, Martin’s painted galaxy is populated by collaged images of Greta Garbo as the Sphinx, sailors, mushrooms, frogs, birds, musicians, and pot leaves—among others—creating humor and play in the cosmic heavens.
Martin’s work has long negotiated this peculiar space between the spiritual, the natural, and the pop cultural ether that seems to hold and envelope so much of his approach towards the image. Rather than place these notions in opposition, his pieces here present a fusion of all inputs, a harmony of inspiration that seems to place the distant vistas of outer space, the internal reveries of solitude, and everything between, on equal footing.
The show closes February 26th.
– D. Creahan
Chris Martin at Anton Kern [Exhibition Site]