Opening reception: Thursday February 27th 6-8pm
For Garten Center, his second solo show at Spencer Brownstone Gallery, Bernhard Martin takes the ‘leisure principle’ as his theme, and our desire for escape from the everyday. Whether it’s a holiday in the sun, or the more modest oasis of a suburban garden, Martin’s new work reminds us that it’s not the literal flight that’s important, but the one that takes place in our heads.
The artist will be unveiling seven new paintings that offer us a series of instant getaways. Like his compatriot Sigmar Polke, Martin’s lingering over the tacky details of the ski-lodge or beach bar, reveals an interest in the manufactured, as opposed to the natural, exotic - and the opportunities these surfaces offer for an almost alchemical transformation in paint.
Underlying this personal and often hilarious brand of Pop imagery, is Martin’s skewed but loving appropriations from art history. The artist’s genres remain the classical ones of landscape, still life, and portraiture - but transposed into futuristic, often hallucinogenic settings.
Also debuting will be the first of Martin’s ‘Gobelins’ series of tapestries. Inspired by Goya’s tapestries and his own explorations on Photoshop, this piece is being produced using the same Jacquart technique which has been used for centuries, integrated with new technologies and modern textiles.
“What I am interested in…” the artist writes, “…is the clash between worlds, islands, chambers of marvels, biotopes, contrasts. In other words, everyday life.” The riotous lexicon of styles and techniques which the artist employs, provides a fitting realization for his joyfully eclectic imagery.
Bernhard Martin was born in Hanover, Germany in 1966, and lives and works in Frankfurt. His work has been exhibited at many major museums and art centers, including the important survey of recent German painting, which opened in January at the Frankfurter Kunstverein in Frankfurt. He has also had recent solo exhibitions at MAMCO, in Geneva, and the Museum of Modern Art’s affiliate, PS1, in New York. He became an associate professor at the Art Academy in Nuremberg in 1999.