“These poolside compositions are designed to be familiar and safe, reminding the viewer of places they have loved and laughed”.
Seductive, relatable, dreamy, Will Martyr’s paintings depict singular moments of escapism that aim to represent those idyllic and profound moments of our lives. Featuring both urban and natural landscapes, the cropped compositions capture universally familiar moments of rest, relaxation, and reflection, in environments of unparalleled luxury. Some of these sites are recognisable, while others are hybrid locations, encouraging the viewer to transpose their own experiences and memories onto the compositions. At first glance, his meticulously painted works seem graphically composed. Yet the almost flawless surface of his canvases are the product of his laborious painting process of masking and layering. Over the past two decades, Martyr’s work has been placed in some of the most prestigious private, corporate, and institutional collections across the globe.
Will Martyr was born in Eastbourne in the United Kingdom in 1980. At the age of 18, he was accepted into the prestigious Slade School of Fine Art in London. During his time at The Slade, the artist experimented with colour, drawing on influences from Ellsworth Kelly, Josef Albers and Richard Diebenkorn. Martyr calls himself a colourist to this day.
Following his time at The Slade, Martyr moved to New York to live and work. The city inspired him with its diverse and rich art scene and its juxtaposition of architectural genres and scale. This fed into Martyr’s early architectural paintings. Martyr returned to London in 2005 to complete his education at the Royal College of Art. He still lives and works in London today.
Martyr’s illustrious education has had a profound effect on his practice. From the unconventional shape of his circular canvases, named tondos, to the hard-edged qualities of his painting, reminiscent of Pop-Art, Modernism and Italian Futurism, his artwork is heavily influenced by the history of art. Over the years, Will Martyr’s subject matter has largely been urban and natural landscapes: windows into utopian environments, fragments of interiors and narrative cut-outs. However,recently, the artist has introduced a human figure in his compositions. His wife has been his latest muse in the creation of his alluring paintings which bear titles such as “Something Special”, “Dancing across the water” or “Wherever you are its alright”.