SAM MARTIN presents his second solo exhibition at ARC ONE Gallery, For the Problem is No Longer, 17 June - 12 July 2014.
'Sam Martin’s recent paintings are literally covered with news content: he transfers newspaper directly to the canvas so it forms the ground upon which he works. But like the layout man he cares little for the transient vicissitudes of reported events, seeing only elastic boxes nested within a grid. Martin recognises the implicit emptiness of these figures and so treats the otherwise loaded surface as a space in which to act.
His first action is to undo the existing layout of the news and rearrange it to address his own concerns. To this end he corrals clusters of images according to colour, or overlays whole pages so that the white margins form a diagonal grid. Sometimes he accretes months of newsprint in one spot to inflict light-sucking wounds upon the canvas. These strategies serve to flatten the diachronic structure of the news to fit the synchronic arena of painting, where our customary reading collapses into the instantaneous radiation of colour and form.
The newspaper is a surface for the painter to work upon, but one that is distorted by magnetic influences. Martin responds to this by coaxing latent geometry to vault across pages, creating passages of egress between adjacent time frames. He creates visual echoes by methodically duplicating and enlarging images from the ground with pointillist strokes. The gaps around prose and stock market results become an armature to support descriptive line-work in place of a describable subject. The news is never lost under Martin’s brushstrokes, every halftone unit is held in comparison to its lustrous oil-painted cousin. The effect is of the news re-edited and luminously augmented to address the limits of painting and the compulsion that sustains its practice.
The accumulation of newspaper on the surface presents us with an overload of information, yet the paintings approach a mute and monolithic abstraction. This doesn’t signify Martin’s antipathy to world events, rather his consciousness of how the subject can be spoken in the language of painting. Unlike the newspaper, paintings aren’t designed to be used within a particular instant of time. With this in mind Martin draws out figures that address a potentially vast time-scale: the most pervasive and obdurate actors that narrate the blur of time, such as division, occlusion, exclusion, repetition and constraint.'
- Excerpt from Layout Man, essay by Bryan Spier, 2014
Sam Martin is a Melbourne based artist who graduated from Monash University in 2009 with a Bachelor of Fine Arts (Honours). On graduating, Sam was awarded the ARC ONE Gallery/Monash Prize, culminating in his ARC ONE solo exhibition Crystalise Borders (2012) and now his second solo exhibition, For the Problem is No Longer (2014). Martin has also been awarded a Commonwealth Education Scholarship, the Tolarno Hotel Painting Prize and the Australian Decorative and Fine Arts Society, Yarra Inc Award. Martin’s career as an artist is developing in an impressive trajectory, as demonstrated by his inclusion in a number of group exhibitions and private collections.
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