Chris Martin, Griffin, 1980
Chris Martin (b.1954) is a contemporary artist based in Brooklyn. Martin is a very interesting painter who incorporates mixed media materials into his painting, such as refuse and foodstuffs. He has stated that these things find their way into his work after he uses them in his life, giving his paintings and organic and visceral quality. His work is varied, and generally uses bright colors and abstract shapes to express the absurdity in society and humanity. Many of his pieces have a luminosity, populated by balls of light, that makes his work quite engaging and bright. Griffin is an earlier work of Martin's, painted soon after he left Yale to pursue his art. The stark contrast in colors in this painting makes it instantly arresting. We can see a long-legged animal here, perhaps the griffin of the title, but the geometric forms in this piece are quite prominent. The canvas is partitioned in an asymmetrical manner that makes it slightly unsettling. A conflict is created in the rich green and orange, which both clash with and complement each other. Martin turns an animal into geometry and natural forms into bright unnatural colors. This painting is quite effective because it communicates a deep understanding of form, color, and space.
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