Will Martyr’s newest works are a romantic take on his usual clean, modernist style. The compositions allow a sense of voyeuristic excitement, facilitated by the fact that there are no figures present. As imagination directs and improvises, the eye wanders past neatly pointed trees, drifting along the plastic rivers that curve over the horizon. The audience will leave wondering if they have been here before.
These utopian views conjure a timeless elegance and nostalgia, as Martyr marries together his found images with remembered places. We find that these familiar settings become soft-focus templates for the mnemonic, at once heightening and embellishing reality. The artist promises us clear skies as flawless as beauty adverts, or pools that mirror hotel lights with scalpel sharp precision.
Martyr’s skilled observation of line and shadow brings depth to the paintings, emphasising the horizontal with simple symmetrical planes. Inspired by post-war Americana/Pop Art, Modernism, Italian Futurist and Russian 1930's Posters, the bold captions radiate themes of vitality and optimistic goodness. Like holiday postcards, ‘Stay Until Tomorrow’, ‘Hold My Hand’ and ‘It’s Only Us’ advertise the contented life.
The Taoist lines of the paintings are particularly appealing, reminiscent of the work of Frank Lloyd Wright. Every bit as seductive as one of the architect’s designs, Martyr’s compositions seamlessly blend subject with surrounding. Immensely popular, they offer the ideal combination of stylish aesthetic, soulful contemplation and technical brilliance. As Wright once said: ‘if you invest in beauty, it will remain with you all the days of your life.’
Will Martyr is a London based artist who graduated from Slade School of Fine Art (BA) in 2002, and the Royal College of Art (MA) in 2007. Having studied in New York and London, ‘The City’ and its environment has always played a central role within Martyr’s work. This focus resulted in an invitation from the Architectural Association to take part in a unique pan-European inter-professional project on the Bauhaus in 2010. This group of professional Artists, Historians, Architects and Designers worked on a series of built projects at the Bauhaus, Dessau and Walter Gropius’ Theatrehaus Jena in conjunction with the Crash, Boom, Bau festival.
Over the past decade Martyr’s work has been exhibited and placed in a number of major private and corporate collections that include ‘The Prudential’, ‘ABN AMRO’, Aon Consulting, Equity Group and Sheikh Al Qasimi of Sharjah. Martyr has exhibited internationally in New York, London and Delhi galleries.
Text by E. S. Jones