Located at the verge of hyper-real figuration and colour field abstraction, Martin’s paintings enact the enigmatic drama of contemporary life. Like any other human being the artist too finds himself caught in situations and occurrences, which are highly coded with meanings. No gesture is an innocent gesture and no word is an innocent word in contemporary situations. Hence, each brush stroke aimed at the surface of the canvas is not innocent; it reveals and conceals, encodes and decodes at the same time.
George Martin’s paintings, though he is an acclaimed sculptor, interpret the highly coded drama of human life in urban situations. In more than one sense, Martin attempts and applies a deconstructive methodology in order to realize his paintings. The images in Martin’s paintings are doubly mediated; firstly by the mediation of a camera and secondly by a program that enables the artist to deconstruct the first image. The unity of the images are deconstructed to an extreme level, they start looking like colour patches. Here, as in the works of Roy Lichtenstein, Martin employs a technique that disintegrates and congregates the units of the original image.
The sense of unity, which becomes palpable from a distance and collapses as proximity progresses, seems to be under threat in Martin’s paintings. The comfort of viewing is allowed to the viewer only from a distance. Physical proximity with the work destroys the sense of unity and throws the viewer into a delirium, where the components fall apart. Perhaps, these works of Martin correspond to the sense of reality and unity as understood in the postmodern sense.
Interestingly, Martin captures the outer layers of urban spaces, which reflect the postmodern sense of reality. These postmodern architectural structures dispel the sense of unity from a closer distance though they show transparency and a feeling of progress, scientific achievement etc from a considerable distance. The enigma of the human drama begins where the sense of reality is displaced or destabilized from its own immediate surroundings. Martin’s works throb with the same sensibility, both as acceptance and critique.
Art historically speaking, Martin arrived at this language through his deliberations with the painterly language as practiced by his immediate predecessors and fellow artists. Perfection and unity were located at the achievement of Renaissance perspective. He wanted to break this sense of perfection and experiments towards this end brought him to a language, which is now identified as Martin’s signature style. The artist did his BFA in Trivandrum Fine Arts College and MFA in Government Art College, Kolkatta. His works are in prominent collections. A recipient of many awards Martin lives and works in New Delhi.
An acclaimed sculptor and painter, George Martin P.J., interprets human life by decoding the drama hidden in overtly simplistic life scenarios.
Primarily known for his sculpting skills, the artist has painted several beautiful canvasses that dig deep into the mysteries of life. His intriguing compositions comprise ‘meditative’ imagery. They reveal and conceal; encode and decode these mysteries simultaneously.
In his paintings, George Martin P.J. tries to create codes that would stand in for fleeting visuals of the daily life. Apparently abstract in nature, they are manipulated from an urban scenario. On other hand, his sculptures, made of diverse materials such as fibre glass, silicon, automobile paint etc., bridge the broken linkages between past and present.
The artist, who hails from the state of Kerala, studied at the College of Fine Arts, Thiruvanthapuram, and later completed his Master of Visual Arts, Sculpture from the Government College of Art & Craft, Kolkata. He has participated in several major shows including the state exhibition held by the Lalit kala Academy, Kerala; ‘Double-Enders’ show curated by Bose Krishnamachari and a show titled ‘The world we live in’ at Melbourne, Australia in 2007.
Elaborating on his artistic philosophy, the artist says, “There’s an intense human drama being enacted around to which a sensitive mind with an artistic bend cannot remain immune. Many touching incidents and events, I am a witness to, leave a deep mark on my mind. They make me agitated, and prompt a spontaneous artistic reaction.”
His creations capture the outer layers of urban spaces that reflect the postmodern sense of reality through an amalgamation of hyper-real figuration and abstraction. According to the artist, the enigmatic human drama unfolds where the sense of reality is disowned or disconnected from its immediate realm.
He explains, “To me, the invention of the new context is the invention of reality. Once an opposing view is invented, a piece of art no longer represents prevailing notions of reality but become reality in itself, as produced by it.”
The artist believes no gesture is incidental and no word is unintentional. There’s context to every action, word or gesture, with a deeper meaning attached to them. His contemplative creations explore the cause and effect phenomenon as he ‘demands’ the lost linkages to be located and put in place.
He quips, “In the contemporary context of life, ‘moments of truths’ are fleeting. The sporadic linkages among random visuals create a virtual notion of reality. As an artist, I look to go beyond them for the linkages that would eventually connect the artistic representation with the memories of the fleeting visuals. I strive to capture the subtle nuances of these linkages.”
Traversing through past and present (sequences of events), it becomes an artistic obsession to capture those moments of truth and passion in palpable motifs and forms.
George Martin P.J., through his artistic processes, mends the breakage between the sign and the signified, and makes an effort to reconnect the object with its lost meaning. Probably, the artist wants to remind the viewers of the fact that it’s not the object that we as society have lost, but a sense of it! For him, it suffices to provide the viewers this sign for communicating with them, rather than diverting or directing their intellect towards a definite conclusion.
The artist applies a ‘deconstructive methodology’ to disintegrate and congregate the units of the original image. The sense of unity, which becomes palpable from a distance, evapourates as one starts moving closer to his paintings. Physical proximity with the work destroys the sense of unity.
His works exist somewhere between objects and images. Conceived either as a site or as a site-specific experience, they come across as autonomous, self-contained entities, decidedly abstract, albeit like devices, which when seen with an inner eye and perceived with an inquisitive mind, become monumental open spaces that literally draw the viewers inside. They can physically ‘enter’ the work, and experience it as a site.
The artist wants the viewers to become a part of his creations, and not stay aloof from them. He looks to strike a chord with them by stimulating their memories, and providing them with an intellectually enriching and aesthetically pleasing experience.
Summing up his artistic spirit, George Martin P.J., says, “My work, soaked in an infinite aesthetical richness, looks to generate a sense of awe in the viewers. I want to appeal to their inner, invisible sensory powers. I believe, my experiences and a passion to portray them are more important than anything else. I let the language of expression and forms take their own course.”
Source: The Arts Trust: Indian Contemporary Art