School of Art – BFA4 – Art; Painting, Sculpture, Photography
what was missing had a shape – Gregor Martin, Apr 20, 2023
I saw my friend Colin at Redcat after I’d done stand up for the first time on Friday, as part of the Talent Show class by Sharon Lockart and Ariel Osterweis. The day before, I’d texted what I’d written for the description for my show, “what was missing had a shape”, with an edit that referenced how the title was taken from Ben Lerner’s novel “The Topeka School”. But then I told him what I was really trying to do in my art practice and what the show represented and he said oh I should just write that. I think I said that I was just trying to make some sense out of my life, moving to L.A. To represent, essentially, how I feel and to cultivate an art practice that is an intentional part of my mental and emotional development. That is, to make work that is uncertain, playful, incoherent, afraid and anxious, responsive, open-minded, hopeful, frustrated, overwhelming, forgiving, in-process and blurry. L.A. (in its most vast and general and specific sense) is constantly being written and cultivated and torn down by its denizens. Its most iconic imagery is the Hollywood sign and palm trees… And popular film. And itself.
“You are a caricature of yourself.” – Tyler Harper,
I cannot separate the ways I am interested in artmaking from the ways I am interested in whatever I am interested in in life. So when I am struck by the beauty of seeing a black widow spider for the first time, I am also interested in how she is viewed and what she represents, and how I might steward my own representation of her and if I am able to interrogate the qualities of my own fascination. The complexion of my own feelings might change or might even be represented in conflicting ways as I use the form of a black widow across various pieces or through different materials. Same thing with working with acrylic for the first time in a long while. I told Henry Taylor he’d made me want to go back and try them again. He told me he was about to start working with oil. The main thing is to always be looking. And listening. The painting will speak for itself. I mean figure itself out.
Gregor Martin moved from Eastern Canada to Los Angeles to finish his BFA at CalArts, where he will graduate this spring. His work appropriates the surreal and humdrum symbols and materials of (his) everyday life and serves as an ongoing study in world-building and sense-making.