WILL MARTYR: This is the largest body of work I have collected in a single exhibition to date. It covers three areas of imagery around the themes of companionship, love and vitality. The compositions include the figure relaxing in poolside locations, playing tennis or arranging flowers.
Each composition conveys a sense of joy and everlasting effervescence in impossibly perfect environments, representing snap shots of personal memories. They are places I have visited and spent time with the people who matter most to me in my life.
A female figure is present in all the compositions. She is either our companion or contentedly relaxing alone. She seems to be reflective, yet completely relaxed in the profoundly beautiful settings she finds herself.
WM: The depiction of water plays a vital role in this work. Metaphorically it is essence of all life, its cleansing, cooling and relaxing. In the compositions the water invites us in and is also often a perspective tool to lead your eye through the work. The immersive reflections and mirroring in water offers me an opportunity to indulge in complex colour contrasts, giving huge complexity and depth to the surface of the work.
Will Martyr, Back to where we started, 2022
WM: Ultimately, they depict moments and locations which are universally familiar. I want the viewer to be able to reminisce or import their own experiences into the compositions. We all seek to experience these perfect moments for ourselves and our loved one and If the paintings are able to engender or reignite those feelings of joy and companionship they have been successful.
Will Martyr, This makes it all worthwhile, 2022
WM: Once I have finalised the composition, it is hand drawn onto the surface of the canvas. I mix each individual colour for the painting prior to starting. This means the entire process of making the work meticulously planned. I am able to visualise how each colour will react with its neighbouring colour to allow the viewer's eye to move across the canvas and around the composition effectively. I use highly saturated colours to make the painting seem to glow and heighten their dream-like quality.
Playing with colour has always been the element of my practice I have enjoyed the most. It was when looking at canvases by Ellsworth Kelly, Al Held and Rothko, I first became aware of how powerful simple colour field paintings can be. In my work, I control and plan every element of the making process. Once the composition is hand drawn onto the canvas, I premix all the colours that are the constituent parts of the painting. This complete control allows me to hone the final experience of the work.
WM: The abstract expressionist movement in New York in to 50’s was a particular formative influence on me. It led me to take a studio in New York in my early twenties for several years. In addition, the Italian Futurist, British Vorticist and Russian constructivist movements in the interwar period, introduced me to a geometric painting style, depicting a modern energy and intensity. Artist such as Hockney, Wayne Thiebaud and Alex Katz are also important influences.