April 6 – May 13, 2017
Thursday, April 6th, 6:00-8:00pm
James Harris Gallery is pleased to present our second solo exhibition by New York based artist Cameron Martin. Since his last show at the gallery in 2014, Martin has taken a decisive new direction with his work. Breaking from the image-based landscape paintings he is known for, his new body of work explores current generative roles for abstraction, making a case for achronological modes of production and beautifully elucidating tensions between technical control and artistic abandon.
For this show, Martin presents a suite of paintings and small-scale drawings, each unique and bold. The vibrancy of these works allows for an embodied viewing experience, calling attention to perceptual interplay and the dynamism of rhythmic compositions that seem to reverberate out of pictorial space. Although on one level this work represents a break from the past, it also retains many of the core tenets of Martin’s practice, which has always been concerned with image creation as a process of inherent abstraction. While in his earlier work Martin challenged methods of representation, merging the signs of painting, photography and print technology into what he terms a ‘media collapse’, in this new work he maintains his interest in inscrutable methods of production, but also shifts from dependence on identifiable referents into images that are polyvalent in their evocations.
The drawings and paintings in the exhibition are constructed through a methodical approach of repetition and layering that simultaneously relies on system and play. Drawing out trancelike patterns of layered line and form, Martin’s abstractions speak to the immateriality of our digital age, conjuring information networks, sonic resonances, and technological glitches. Yet the work is resolutely hand crafted, employing mechanized but manual approaches to the realization of the image. The work requires concentration and time, proffering a sense of duration in static form.
In many ways, Martin’s non-representational work offers a more direct experience into the landscape of the artist’s mind, unfettered by concrete representation. Much of Martin’s work in the past has played with notions of site and non-site, with the image serving as a marker for unattainable direct experience. In this new work, it is as if Martin has revealed the originary site. No longer insisting on the muted tones characteristic of his earlier work, which elicited a contemplative silence, there is a sense of optimism in the commanding presence of these new pictures, a timeless physicality that has the potential to endure.
Cameron Martin was born in Seattle, Washington in 1970 and lives and works in Brooklyn, NY. He was educated at Brown University and the Whitney Independent Study Program. He is the recipient of a 2010 John Simon Guggenheim Memorial Foundation Fellowship and a 2008 Joan Mitchell Foundation Fellowship. Solo exhibitions include ”Bracket”, Greenberg Van Doren Gallery, NY (2011), “Currents 97”, St. Louis Museum of Art, St. Louis, MO (2006), and “Focus 3”, Philbrook Museum of Art, Tulsa, OK (2006). Martin was included in the prestigious Whitney Biennial in 2004. His works are included in the collections of the Albright-Knox Art Gallery, the Saint Louis Art Museum, the Seattle Art Museum and the Whitney Museum of Art, among others. Opening in June of this year, the Museum at SUNY Albany will host a full-scale exhibition of his abstract work, accompanied by a catalogue including an essay by art historian and critic Suzanne Hudson.