Jason Martin effects oscillations between sculpture and painting, with the vigour of action painting but a controlled hand. He is perhaps best known for his monochromatic paintings, where layers of oil or acrylic gel are dragged across hard surfaces such as aluminium, stainless steel or Plexiglas with a fine, comb-like piece of metal or board in one movement, often repeated many times. Striations catch the light, their rhythmic textures suggestive of the ridges in a vinyl record, strands of wet hair, the grain of a feather – and whose titles flirt with association (Comrade, Amphibian, Corinthian). Martin does away with paint altogether in his wall-mounted casts of copper, bronze and nickel, whose surfaces are unctuous but frozen. In pure pigment works, vivid colour is applied to moulded panels, whose baroque contortions appear like an extreme close-up of a painter’s palette. Martin's recent re-engagement with oil paint, continuing his investigation of the fundamentals of painting, veers from epic and luscious compositions of swirling dark oils to pared-down muted abstractions in smoky off-whites. Titled according to the harmonic relationships between hues, such as Untitled (Davy's Grey Deep / Graphite Grey / Titanium White) (2017), the paintings are loaded with varying quantities of paint, resulting in significant spillages, impasto ridges and arabesque whorls. These parallel strata are built up from repeated, physical gestures – a process that Martin has honed since his days at Goldsmiths College in London in the early 1990s – although now created through precise and controlled gestures, albeit with the intervention of chance, moments of happenstance and the occasional swirl of chaos.
Jason Martin was born in Jersey, in the Channel Islands, in 1970 and lives and works between London and Portugal. He has a BA from Goldsmiths, London (1993). Solo exhibitions include Schauwerk Sindelfingen, Sindelfingen, Germany (2017); Museum gegenstandsfreier Kunst, Otterndorf, Germany (2016); Palazzo Cavalli Franchetti, Venice, Italy (2013); Le Consortium, Dijon, France (2012); Peggy Guggenheim Collection, Venice, Italy (2009); Es Baluard Museu d'Art Modern i Contemporary de Palma, Majorca, Spain (2008); Kunstverein Kreis Gŭtersloh, Gutersloh, Germany (2007); and Centro de Arte Contemporáneo de Málaga, Spain (2005). He was a prizewinner in John Moores 21, Liverpool Biennial of Contemporary Art, UK (1999) and of the Golfo della Spezia, European Biennial of the Visual Arts, La Spezia, Italy (2000).