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Chris Martin: the savage painter


Chris Martin in the Submarine Wharf. Photo: Lotte Stekelenburg

Chris Martin (Washington D.C., 1954) lives and works in New York. He has a two-storey studio completely packed with small and large paintings made since around 1980, when he made his first steps in the art world. It is only in the past few years that he has achieved international success with his work.

Due to several personal experiences, Chris Martin came to the conclusion that every painting was an important moment, whether successful or not, and should be kept. That afforded him both a great sense of peace and energy: the peace of mind to make bad paintings if necessary and the energy to make each painting an explosion of colour and power.

Intense body of work

Chris Martin is inspired by outsider art, artists with an African background, and art by colleagues that he knows personally or from books. With them in the back of his mind, he has created a fiery and intense body of work. Despite their monumental scale, his paintings contain numerous details and experiments with form and figuration. The works are full of quotations and references to other painters. He often uses ordinary sailcloth and enormous quantities of paint. He paints quickly with large brushes, mostly with the canvas on the floor. The question remains if these paintings, which contain unusual materials such as glitter and toast, will survive the test of time.

Martin presents his work in the large pre-hall of the Submarine Wharf, where he will arrange 18 existing works and three works made on site, two of which are 13 x 10 meters. His painting High Noon Manikarnika Ghat (Dedicated to Frank Moore) from 2002 graces the exterior wall of the Submarine Wharf. This is the first time that Chris Martin’s works will be shown in the Netherlands.

More about Chris Martin

Click here to read an interview with Chris Martin in The Brooklyn Rail. Watch a video of the installation of Chris Martin’s exhibition at the Corcoran Gallery of Art, and an interview with the artist about his exhibition.

in collaboration with:

Interviews Klaas Kloosterboer, Jim Shaw and Chris Martin

ARTtube