at Holly Johnson Gallery through August 11
by Todd Camplin

Holly Johnson Gallery presents Jim Martin and his language based paintings. But to say the work is
painting is not enough to describe them, and to say these works are about language barely
scratches the surface behind the meanings of the works.
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Martin’s process of painting is not traditional pigments on a surface. He works on canvas and
paper with copper leaf and patinas that give the surfaces some age. Martin’s paintings
reminded me of artists before the invention of the tube of paint. Past artists had to mix
chemicals to create colors and even now, the glazes mixed by potters and printmakers
are closer to this ground up approach to making images. By allowing chemicals to work
the surface, Martin adds an element of controlled chance to each surface. Martin’s
process is taken from long standing traditions in sculpture, architecture, furniture, and
precious objects. I still designate these works as paintings, because he uses  a flat surface,
the images are framed as paintings, and his surface mark making still references past
gestures. Only now Martin brings patina to the painting tradition.
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Todd Camplin

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Martin’s content uses the past and present to create something with an ancient look, but with
GMO, 2012  - Acrylic, copper leaf, patina on canvas
42 x 39 inches

Martin’s style mixes a kind of figurative gestural motion similar to that of Jackson Pollock, with a
surface reminiscent of Jean Dubuffet’s textured paintings, and a highly conceptual thought
AKA, 2012 - Acrylic, copper leaf, patina on paper
14 1/2 x 10 1/2 inches
GOM, 2012 - Graphite on paper
24 x 15 inches
You can start to decode Jim Martin’s show “Initialisms” at Holly Johnson Gallery, which will be