After signing with Maddox as a represented artist in 2022, we are pleased to open our first solo show with British artist, Will Martyr. Currently on display at Maddox Gstaad, Martyr's exhibition pays tribute to the breathtaking beauty of mountains and the unique emotions evoked by these magnificent natural wonders. In a recent interview, we had the pleasure of discussing with Martyr the compelling themes he explores in his latest show, the deliberate absence of human figures, and his inspiring creative process.
The mountains are a place where I have always been able to relax, reflect and gain inspiration. I find it impossible not to be awestruck with the scale and beauty of a mountain location. Their visual drama and at times unpredictable temperament remind you of your finite existence and what a privilege it is to be able to experience them for recreation and indulgence. I am often in the mountains with my family and friends and to simply sit and look in contemplation with people who matter is one of the most restorative and joyous pastimes I know.
In the studio with Will Martyr
Although human figures are not in the compositions, I feel the compositions are filled with humanity. The spaces are familiar and ultimately the lack of figures allows the viewer access to the composition and explore it unhindered. Often a figure adds a layer of narrative which could make the viewer a voyeur rather than a space to import their own memories and dreams.
The compositions are not of specific single locations. They are hybrids of many different locations and memories of moments. They are a collage of memories. As such, they are easier for the viewer to find elements that are familiar to their own experiences. I want the compositions to act as triggers, to help people remember those profound moments with the ones they love.
They tell the story. They invite us to join. They speak of companionship. Elements such as the jumbled mass of skis outside a restaurant or chairs placed on trodden snow are personified. They are our friends, family and loved ones. They also suggest a gathering just out of shot or invite you to sit and join them.
I work very hard to craft beautiful compositions. Once I have had hand drawn the composition onto the surface of the canvas there is little opportunity to alter it in the painting process. Particularly, on my round pieces the compositions really draw you in to the scene and you become immersed. I want to depict ‘that’ perfect place that we often search for on the mountain. The best seat in the restaurant with the best view away from the crowd.
Will Martyr's Studio
It is so important for the viewer to feel a personal connection to the painting. Importing their own memories of specific experiences allows for a far deeper experience. If looking at my painting can transport them to a specific memory, then the painting is a success.
I have maintained a studio in London for over twenty years. I paint and draw almost every day. My practice has always been incredibly intricate and controlled. The craft and quality of my painted surface is near flawless. Hundreds of hours go into creating each work and this is clear when viewing them first hand. People can understand and respect this diligence to craft and see the timeless nature of the work I create.
What I paint has evolved. Previously my work was focused on representing architectural space whereas now it has so much to do with my life outside the studio and the unique experiences I try to create for myself and my family. It is these beautiful moments that I aim to reproduce.
I have always been fascinated with the use of colour in painting and its ability to enhance and transform the mood of a composition. I continue to hone my use of colour to enhance each of the paintings. Ultimately, I want to create joyous and vibrant paintings that engender wonder and help the viewer to reminisce.