Gil Martin is inspired by the earth's elements. Swoops of charcoal, drips of golden yellow, terra cotta shapes and gray washes color the textured surfaces of his paintings and drawings.
Geological in nature, these works are layered with artist-induced climatic forces. Martin's studio is outdoors. He gathers his palette from the earth, harvesting black, green, red, yellow, maroon and gray pigment at the edge of roads and construction sites in Georgia, Oregon, Nevada, Illinois, Kansas and Arizona. As he composes, he presses against uneven surfaces and patterns that lie beneath his paper or canvas. He draws and paints, washes off pigment, repaints, scrapes and paints again, until the work feels complete.
Martin's process is clearly experimental and based in large part on chance procedures. These gestural works record a material and spiritual dialectic. Balancing artistic control against natural weathering and building processes, Martin lets intuition and the intrinsic beauty of the environment hold sway. Tiny veins of water break across the foreground, bursting into root-like blooms edged in gold and gray.
There is a Zen element to the artist's quiet meditations. Martin records the spontaneous forces at play in the natural world, intuitively committing that balance of motion and rest to visual memory. In positive and negative space, rough and smooth surfaces, darkness and light, his atmospheric paintings and drawings evoke a diminishing universe.
-Excerpted from Cathy Byrd's review on artnet.com, Gil Martin, "New Work," Oct. 27-Dec. 2, 2000, at Kiang Gallery, 1923 Peachtree Road, Atlanta, Ga. 30309