Real Impossibilities: Tom Martin - Solo Show
The exhibition ‘Real Impossibilities’ began, almost, as a rebellion against the photograph. Fuelled by comments regarding the parallel between his paintings and photographic images, Martin developed the ethos that his painted works would be just that, paintings; and although photography is used as a tool, he would not imitate a false reality like that seen in a reproduced image. For Martin, his body of work is representative of a new and more considered version of reality, one that cannot exist in photography; photography and the reproduced image is what people worldwide perceive to be real and, according to the artist, it is not. With a new sense of impetus on a breakaway from the perceived reality of a photograph, Martin devises the notion of decontextualisation; he plays with scale, perspective and forced juxtapositions, referencing artists like Ramos with his ‘Pop’ style years before but striving to achieve a more heightened reality. Martin positions his vulnerable nude figures in compromising arrangements with large-scale sweet wrappers, for instance, stating that “…this scenario could never happen, yet I could make it seem real in paint. So much so, that it would become, almost, surreal and unnerving”. The viewer is engaged with a hyper reality, where banal objects are commemorated with intricate reflections and abstracted bands of colour, enabling a meticulous vision of subjects that we overlook everyday.
Martin’s approach to painting is one of diversity, his subject matter varied and his tenacity evident in the continuous use of innovative techniques. His current work conveys his aspiration to create new ways of seeing paintings and a contemplation of their standing amid technological advances. Martin’s use of CMYK dot patterns to create accurate colours, compiled of precise dots, enables an exactitude whilst generating a diverse way of seeing the paintings; of course the Impressionists were doing that in the 19th century, but not with the precision that is now obtainable through modern technology. The artist continues to explore and employ optical devices, such as photo-stitching, that is the process of combining multiple photographic images with overlapping fields of view to produce a segmented panorama, and he is now producing still life paintings of panoramic scenes. The result is a movement around the composition, where everything is in focus at the same time, a step forward from Martin’s use of blurred imaging in previous works. Now, seeing a clear view of an impossible panoramic vision is attainable with the aid of technological innovation, peripheral vision can now be viewed on a singular plane, right in front of the viewer, an effect impossible to achieve with the human eye and even customary photographic means.