“Spirits Through Time” | October 22nd – November 29th, 2020
Robert Berry Gallery is proud to announce its new virtual exhibition Spirits Through Time by artist Ned Martin featuring breathtaking, one-of-a-kind portraits that mix traditional and contemporary elements, and landscape-inspired works that feature colorful impressions of forested and natural scenery with the artist’s signature filtered aesthetic.
“I’m excited to present Spirits Through Time, my first double-show featuring new works I created over the past year,” Mr. Martin stated. “Time, the importance of nature, and honor are all significant themes in these collections, which include a series of portraits of women that blend traditional and contemporary elements, as well as landscapes that feature colorful scenery from nature.”
Mr. Martin’s work touches on the subjects of nature and community, which are drawn from his childhood memories of rural Pennsylvania and Northern Maryland. After studying Fine Arts at Towson State University in Maryland, Mr. Martin continued his formal art training at the Schuler School of Fine Arts in Baltimore. Raised by his mother, aunt, and sister, Mr. Martin believes that women are the underpinning of society.
Spirits Through Time features new unique portraits of nineteenth-century women blending classical and modern elements. These portraits were created in early 2020 during his trip to Bolivia, where, during COVID travel restrictions, a weeklong trip turned into nearly six months. During this unexpected extended residency, Mr. Martin brought paints and brushes, but didn’t have anything to paint on. His girlfriend identified an empty apartment where there were cabinets being ripped out of the kitchen. “I had this big beautiful space to go paint in every day, and I used the cabinet’s masonite panels on which to paint, which would fit into a suitcase. The whole experience was a blessing. I searched the internet for photographs of women from the 1800s. These portraits are honoring these women from the past,” Mr. Martin stated. “I’m honoring these women and bringing them back, not just into contemporary times, but also into the future. I want viewers to feel the sense of time, the iconic nature of women, and the meaning of honor.”
Mr. Martin’s works look to take the viewer on a journey. “Spirits Through Time is meant to empower people to have their own ideas and reactions. I would like the viewer washed away in time, and to feel that time is not linear; that it has many dimensions to it. I would want them be visited by these women, to feel their presence and vice versa.”
The other side of Spirits Through Time features new landscape works created from 2019 and 2020, large in size and scope. For the last few years, Mr. Martin has used reclaimed aluminum printing plates on which to create landscape works. These plates were originally used to print tabloid stories, disposed after a few uses. “There is imagery left on the metal of articles and advertising, photographs, and logos,” stated Mr. Martin. “All of that imagery, paired with the landscape work, creates a sense of beauty mixed with commercial messages.”
Mr. Martin stays true to his roots and interest in nature and the natural world. “These paintings utilize my signature style and are subdivided into rectangles; the viewer is encouraged to see it through a different viewpoint or filter,” Mr. Martin said. “It might be time of year, it might be your mood, but we don’t always see things the same way. We see things differently at 9am versus 9pm. I’m trying to show people that we see things differently at different times and through different filters. In my work, there’s always a sense of nature, and a sense of spirit. In a natural landscape, there may be figures or not, but there is someone there, regardless of what you see. Maybe they were there at some time. The meaning of time is a continuing thread in my work, as is the mystery that it engenders.”
Mr. Martin’s artistic process has evolved over his nearly four-decade career as an artist. “I have a stack of ideas that are crudely drawn, mostly notations, and if I see an idea repeating many times, then I know there must be something to it. “The process of coming up with ideas is often a mix of our part-urban, part-country life. Living in Bushwick, Brooklyn, we recently went camping in the mountains of New Hampshire, which couldn’t be more different and refreshing. Communing with nature, and being in different places geographically and spiritually, is a big part of my work.”
Mr. Martin draws inspiration from the untainted perspective of youth. “Spirits and Landscapes is meant to empower people to have their own ideas and reactions, both beautiful and haunting,” he stated. “My biggest inspiration is viewing life through a child’s mind and vision. The feeling that you get from kids—my own grandkids and children in general—is inspirational, nonjudgmental and refreshing. I’d rather approach life from this place of wonder. It’s inspirational for me to be on a child’s level, to literally get on the floor and see the world from a child’s point of view. It’s Basquiat’s approach as well; he was able to draw and paint like a child. I’d rather be removed from the conceptual stage and the painting process. I’d rather be a fly on the wall. I want to funnel the process, not direct it. There are hundreds of senses, not just five.”
Mr. Martin’s Spirits and Landscapes will be on view at Robert Berry Gallery from October 22nd through November 29th. “Ned Martin is a classically-trained painter whose new collections evoke feelings of time, memory and honor,” stated Robert Berry, founder and CEO of Robert Berry Gallery. “Spirits Through Time features breathtaking and one-of-a-kind portraits that mix traditional and contemporary elements, juxtaposed with colorful impressions of forested and nature scenery with his signature style, palette, and hyperrealist style. Mr. Martin has truly perfected his use of classical tropes that convey a contemporary vision.”
Spirits Through Time marks Martin’s second solo show in partnership with Robert Berry Gallery. The first show, Pretty Pain, was held in 2014.