Chris Martin’s latest work is all about graphic impact—bold pattern, tapestry-inspired visual texture and the introduction of newspaper print. For his exhibition at Mitchell-Innes & Nash, the theme is driven by a large canvas at the center of the gallery. It’s rhythmic, vertical pattern is similar to the pattern of a large-scale canvase he created for a show at the Corcoran Gallery of Art last year—his first-ever solo exhibition.
But for his current show, Martin’s choice of color—red, black and green—is the defining narrative. Martin was born in Washington, D.C. and is based in Brooklyn. Absent information about the artist and his inspirations, the palette conjures contemporary work by an artist of African origin or, conversely, a black power reference from decades ago.
Upon closer inspection, Martin’s work has some playful, off-handed departures. Why is there gnome perched in the corner of the gallery and another reclining in a recess of one of the canvases?
The gallery offers some explanation in its release: “Martin is a firm believer in the beauty and surprise of chance operations, in knowing and not being sure of what he is doing at any given moment, …His approach is at the same time serious, playful, and playfully serious.”
Chris Martin’s work is on view at Mitchell-Innes & Nash from Jan. 26 to March 3, 2012.
All photos by Arts Observer