WILL MARTYR - A WORLD ELSEWHERE : LONDON
Maddox Gallery is delighted to present A World Elsewhere, an exhibition of paintings by the British artist Will Martyr that launches at Maddox Westbourne Grove on 28th April. Reflecting on themes of companionship, love and contentment, the artworks are snapshots of the artist’s personal memories, collected, mixed and merged to create a sense of timeless nostalgia.
Martyr’s first solo exhibition with Maddox in the UK following a sold-out show at Maddox Gstaad in February, A World Elsewhere presents three different subject matters that follow the same enduring theme of Will Martyr’s work. Relaxed and familiar, together they celebrate life, beauty and time spent with the people we love, with each featuring a female figure who could be a companion or contentedly relaxing alone, unguarded and unposed.
Born in Eastbourne in 1980, Martyr’s illustrious education began at the age of 18 when he was accepted into the prestigious Slade School of Fine Art in London. Following time in New York, he returned to London to complete his studies at The Royal College of Art. Currently living and working in in the capital, he describes himself as a colourist, citing David Hockney’s depictions of water, the enigmatic paintings of Wayne Thiebaud and the personal yet inscrutable works of the figurative artist Alex Katz as inspirations.
Like Hockney, Martyr’s series of Poolside paintings reveal how water plays a vital role in his work. Light and water nourish the compositions, conveying a sense of joy and everlasting effervescence in these impossibly perfect environments. The immersive reflections in the water allow the artist to experiment with complex colour contrasts, bringing enormous depth to the surface of his work.
Thiebaud’s paintings of Wimbledon were the inspiration behind Martyr’s Tennis paintings. In these circular works, the female figure is more dominant, with the geometric confines of the court providing a perspectival grid that is accentuated by Martyr’s precise brushstrokes. Absorbed in the moment, the pared-back backgrounds draw the viewer in, inviting them to engage with her personally.
In the third series of paintings, Martyr explores the organic chaos of juxtaposed blooms for the first time. At double life-size, the works create an extraordinary explosion of colour and detail. Like the figures in Martyr’s paintings, these flowers are immortal – forever perfect, opulent and alive.
To experience one of Martyr’s works is to not only look but touch and understand the texture of the surface and how the painting is constructed, layer by layer. The exceptionally high finish of the paintings creates an altogether more vivid experience for the viewer, with the near-flawless surface of the works belying the thousands of hours that go into creating each piece.