Part of our roster since 2013, his career has steadily grown to secure an international presence through museum, gallery, and art fair presentations around the world. Known for his distinctive approach to freeing the act of painting from the confines of a rectilinear canvas, Martiny has continuously developed new approaches to his signature large- scale brushstrokes that obscure the boundaries between painting and sculpture.
Many of these developments have risen out of the demand for large scale commissions. Two works created for the lobby of New York’s One World Trade Center and a recent outdoor installation for a German private collection each required equal parts artistry and engineering. Other developments over the years have brought new experimentations with color. Earlier works utilized monochromatic color schemes that offered clarity and directness, while many recent paintings contain multiple colors that emphasize the work’s architectural complexities.
Yet, what has remained constant is Martiny’s desire to create paintings that provide viewers with a physical experience that transcends the typical passive observation associated with looking through the “portal” of a rectangular canvas. Discussing his commission in New York, Martiny is quoted: “I wanted these works at 1WTC to live in the same space and time as the viewer. Specifically, I wanted viewer and work to coexist, for the work to offer a direct and visceral experience without illusion or separation.”
The work in Epistrophy is in some ways the accumulation of these developments and concerns, providing viewers with the latest developments from the artist’s North Carolina studio; however, named after a modern jazz standard of the same name by Thelonius Monk, the exhibition is a reflection of the improvisational approach Martiny enjoyed while making this body of work. Disengaging reason, calculation, and a priori influences, he set out to produce new paintings that provided a clear, authentic expression from within. The works utilize a complex color scale, alternating between warm and cool, high and low key, and surfaces that incorporate both matte and gloss paint which, altogether, lend a fresh outlook on the artist’s prolific practice.