Tuesday, 7 February 2012


silkscreen, archival jet ink and diamon dust print  75.5 x 75.5 cm           (c) Will Martyr-Contemporary Artists

‘In writing, I allow you to peep into my ignorance’ (Steve Connor). Writing a blog is a risk. These pictures in particular remind me of how in a post modern world, regardless of the writer’s (or artist’s ) intention, meanings are shifting, unstable and open to question.

Time Well Spent, Sweet Spot, No Need To Rush, Press Play are some of the titles of Martyr’s work, which I first saw at the London Art Fair and is now at the Hay Hill Gallery. The words strike the cheerful optimistic note we recognise from advertisements, love songs or those seductive self- improvement books.
And the painting themselves? Some are very beautiful – but you cannot stop there. The two works above will not hang peacefully on your walls. They are intriguing, both playful and deadly serious. They are free of all the clutter which makes life so messy – including people. Clean, elegant, empty, still and silent. Bare minimalist settings promise luxury. A colour palette puts the soft and sweet next to the raw and rampaging. We begin to check out the difference between our fantasies of the good life and what we know in our hearts makes life worth living. 

Provider is also full of ambiguities. The title promises so much, the two wings of the building stretch out like arms towards the viewer as if in an embrace. There is space and light  and colour – all the things we crave for. But is thee a hint of a cage on the left? And the lovely blue oval enclosing the building is careful not to get punctured by all these angles and sharp edges.

Martyr ‘s professional practice includes collaboration on architectural installations and he holds a teaching post at the Architectural Association. His aim is to ‘reflect the speed, lust and the glorification of burgeoning cities and explore how such forces conflict with the choices, decisions and aspirations of a democratic free society’. There will be a solo exhibition of his work at the Hay Hill later this year and in the meantime his website offers you a sight of 16 of the best.

1 comment:

  1. Excellent post. There are so many stories from around the world that tell of the resrtictions (and worse) on art and artists - unfortunately they still happen.

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