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June 17, 2021

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A return to the fundamentals of life amid turmoil

JASON Martin’s solo exhibition “Space, Light, Time” at the Lisson Gallery Shanghai showcases eight new works the painter specifically created for the show.

As the title suggests, the exhibition is a return to the fundamentals of life — a mark of appreciation for these natural elements following the turmoil of the past year — and also to the foundations of painting.

The works in this ensemble are all sculpted paste on aluminum with pure pigment. Martin has been known for his thick impasto and gestural paintings that challenge people’s perceptions of two and three dimensions. By occupying space beyond the canvas itself, the artist pushes the boundaries of painting to its limits, and balances on the precipice between painting and sculpture.

His previous works have been characterized by the single sweeping brushstroke, but here in this exhibition Martin adopts a more visceral, fluid approach using his hands rather than a tool to create a surface opposed to the wall.

From the first three works — respectively in dark blue, Cobalt violet and ultramarine blue — Martin shows his manipulation of the medium, sculpting the surface into dense abstract layers, with edges, curves and folds.

With conceptual roots in the genre of landscape painting, the works have a dialogue with figuration, evoking the expanse of the raw and rugged landscape beyond Martin’s studio in Portugal.

Deeper into the gallery is a series of fluorescent red and pink works, and on the opposite wall is a larger-scale painting rendered in a luminous Quinacridone scarlet shade. These works showcase Martin’s use of the beauty of the impervious, rich colors to create hypnotic swirling forms.

Beyond oil and pigment, the artist has explored varying materials in his work — from the opulent, mirrored surfaces of gold, silver, nickel and copper, to the intensely terrestrial use of graphite.

All the works on display emit a contemplative yet joyful vitality — the use of colors suggesting a desire to escape the melancholy and start anew.

Dates: Through August 21 (Tuesday to Saturday), 11am-6pm

Venue: Lisson Gallery

Address: 2F, 27 Huqiu Road


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