Cameron Martin’s approach to landscape painting confronts the post-industrial condition of the planet at the beginning of the 21st century. Notes Martin, “I am concerned with representations of nature and our shifting relationship to the sublime. While previously landscape may have evoked a terror of the infinite, given the world’s current environmental course, it now provides something akin to a terror of loss."
The works on view in Currents 97: Cameron Martin are made with the cultural memory of a pristine and magnificent wilderness in mind, but in Martin’s practice this idea is complicated both by the mediation of advertising and by the realization that the natural world is rapidly shrinking. The stagnant morass of Deilution, 2006 (the title itself a is a telling conflation of several malignant terms including “devolution," “dilution," and “pollution"), features water that no longer holds restorative or cleansing properties but is instead thick, still, and glinting with metallic residue. In The Crooked and Wide, 2003, water crystallizes into jagged fragments awash in an acid green-blue vortex. Remission, 2006, is a monumental painting based on the popular image of Mount St. Helens, a mountain that has been admired for its stately presence but revealed itself to be radically unstable with a major eruption in 1980. The title of Remission likens t he landscape to a body with a dormant illness which may unexpectedly recur.
Currents 97: Cameron Martin is part of a series of exhibitions featuring the work of contemporary artists at the Saint Louis Art Museum. The series is supported by the Henry L. and Natalie E. Freund Endowment Fund, which supports the exhibition and acquisition of contemporary art at the Museum and the teaching principles of contemporary art at the Sam Fox School of Design & Visual Arts, College and Graduate School of Art at Washington University. This exhibition was curated by Robin Clark, associate curator of contemporary art.
The exhibition is part of an annual series supported by the Henry L. and Natalie E. Freund Endowment Fund, which was established to foster the exhibition and acquisition of contemporary art at the Museum and to nurture the teaching principles of contemporary art at the Washington University School of Art. As the 2005-2006 Freund Fellow, Martin will complete two month-long residencies in St. Louis, during which he will teach at Washington University and offer lectures at the Museum. Freund Fellows are selected by representatives from the Art Museum and the School of Art from an international pool of applicants.
The Museum’s Currents series features the works of contemporary artists and is curated by Robin Clark, associate curator of contemporary art. The exhibition is on view in Gallery 337 March 24 through June 18, 2006.
The Saint Louis Art Museum is one of the nation’s leading comprehensive art museums with collections that include works of art of exceptional quality from virtually every culture and time period. Areas of notable depth include Oceanic art, pre-Columbian art, ancient Chinese bronzes and European and American art of the late 19th and 20th centuries, with particular strengths in 20th century German art. The Museum offers a full range of exhibitions and educational programming generated independently and in collaboration with local, national, and international partners.
Image: Cameron Martin, Remission, 2006; acrylic on canvas; Courtesy of the artist and Greenberg Van Doren Gallery, New York
Artist’s Lecture and Exhibition Preview
Thursday, March 23, 7:00 p.m.
Saint Louis Art Museum
One Fine Arts Drive, Forest Park St. Louis, Missouri 63110
Admission to the Saint Louis Art Museum is free to all every day; featured exhibition admission is free on Fridays.