Jason Martin channels a minimal approach to painting through an expansive yet controlled use of colour, brush and medium. Working in pigment, acrylic, oil paint, graphite and cast metal, Martin interrogates the fundamentals of painting, veering from epic and luscious compositions of swirling forms (such as Oceania, 2006) to pared-down and muted abstractions in precisely blended tones. Structured according to the harmonic relationships between these hues (included in the titles, such as Davy's Grey Deep/Graphite Grey/Titanium White, 2017), the paintings manifest as parallel strata, their horizons exploring suggestions of landscape and atmosphere through the viscosity of oil or the granular texture of other material added to the paint. Albeit with the occasional intervention of chance, moments of happenstance and the unexpected whorl of chaos, this process of repeated, sweeping gestures has been honed over the years since Martin attended Goldsmiths College in London in the early 1990s. These early works saw Martin dragging skeins of oil or acrylic gel across hard surfaces such as aluminium, stainless steel or Plexiglas with a fine, comb-like tool.
Martin also does away with paint altogether in his wall-mounted casts of gold, rose gold and silver, whose surfaces are unctuous but frozen – fluctuating between sculpture and painting. In monochromatic, pure pigment works, vivid colour is applied to moulded panels, whose baroque contortions appear like extreme close-ups of a painter’s ridged and furrowed palette. Uniting his practice is an attempt to further the language of abstraction through discrete and measured interventions, which both disrupt and activate the surfaces and spaces he inhabits.
Jason Martin was born in Jersey, in the Channel Islands, in 1970 and lives and works between London and Portugal. He has a BA from Goldsmiths, London (1993). Solo exhibitions include Thaddaeus Ropac, France (2018); Schauwerk Sindelfingen, Sindelfingen, Germany (2017); Museum gegenstandsfreier Kunst, Otterndorf, Germany (2016); Peggy Guggenheim Collection, Venice, Italy (2009); Es Baluard Museu d'Art Modern i Contemporary de Palma, Majorca, Spain (2008); Kunstverein Kreis Gŭtersloh, Gutersloh, Germany (2007); and Centro de Arte Contemporáneo de Málaga, Spain (2005).