Chris Martin Midnight 2002-2004 oil, enamel and spray paint on plastic
I took this gorgeous image from the website of the Uta Scharf gallery, which is currently showing paintings by Chris Martin. It's a bit smaller than what I normally like to show here, but this shot looks much better than what I could come up with using available light on my visit this afternoon. Still, I have to say that there's no way I could try to reproduce many of Chris Martin's other, signature works on such a small scale.
It was the larger, much larger, canvases which first jumped in front of me a number of years ago, and I haven't been able to forget them since. Although his 1997 show at Pierogi 2000 had just closed, in the spring of that year I picked up a card at Joe Amrhein's space whose image was that of two men carrying across a Williamsburg street an extremely large (129" x 143") black canvas with a few iconic straight, white, chalk-like lines. The reference was the Abbey Road LP cover, whether conscious or not, but I was certainly hooked. I had to know who this artist was, and while I did a little research, for a while I couldn't find a live show anywhere.
In 2001 I was finally able to see what I had missed. That spring Martin had, I believe, shows in three separate venues at once, in Brooklyn and Manhattan. I think I might trade an entire salon-style wall of works by other artist if I could afford one of Martin's big pieces. A few years ago Barry and I managed to claim a smallish canvas at a wonderful something called, I think, "The Cheap Art Show" in Williamsburg. It really was cheap, and we've treasured Chris's [blacklit abstract birds] ever since.
I think he's a brilliant and materially-spectacular artist. What you will find in the modest space on 76th Street this week is an amazingly rich and remarkably heterogenous selection of his current work, with a couple of pieces stretching toward sculpture. Unfortunately the current show at Uta Scharf closes Saturday, but I'm sure Ms. Scharf would be more than happy to pull out a few pieces from the back room if asked.
In the meantime, please forgive me for uploading so many images here; it was hard enough to stop with just five.
Chris Martin Untitled 2005 oil, acrylic and collage on canvas 43" x 30"
Chris Martin Thirteen (For Ray Johnson) 2004 oil on corrugated plastic 26" x 24"
Chris Martin Psilocybin 2004 oil, acrylic and collage on shirt 24" x 18"
Chris Martin 1,2,3,4,5,6,7... (Ravine) 1987-2004 oil, aluminum foil and collage on canvas 25" x 15"
[images from Uta Scharf]