Ned Martin “Pretty Pain”

Robert Berry Gallery @ The Atelier

Sep. 3, 2024 - Oct. 4, 2014

635 W 42nd Street
New York, New York 10036

Robert Berry is pleased to present Ned Martin “Pretty Pain” from September 3rd through October 4th, 2014 at The Atelier located at 635 West 42nd Street. In the artists first solo exhibition in New York since 2013 he debuts his new artistic style. After a highly acclaimed solo exhibition at Penn College earlier this year, featuring his realism and abstract works, we present a new series of paintings in his newly developed style “abstract photorealism.” For Martin, this new genre represents a metamorphosis of opposing techniques in artistry to create a new mode of visualization.

For the past two decades, Martin has become known for his photorealism paintings, stemming out of his classical training including the grinding and mixing of paints, emphasis on skilled drawing, and many years painting en plein aire in the fields of Scotland and along la Seine in Paris. By utilizing scrubbing, scratching, and scrapping layers of textured paint until a realistic form reveals itself, Martin created a visually complex work that with closer scrutiny, the viewer is delighted to discover broken impressionistic layers of paint that imply realism. These paintings are a reflection of the dichotomy: very calming when viewed from afar, and abstract/maniacal when examined closely.

His abstract work emerged from his photorealism work, and attempted to break down nature into purely abstract forms, yet still retain his trademark technical and visual complexities. In “Pretty Pain” the implied realism from the previous work is still present, but it takes on a new language of forum and color, creating a continuous exploration of his perception of the world around him. Martin coins the term abstract photorealism to represent the marriage of abstract and realism in his newly developed painted style. The artist had stated back in 2008, “ultimately, I am searching for the abstract within realism. When light plays across a surface it calls to me—makes me stop in my tracks.” Martin was an abstract painter before he knew it; when he was still painting photorealistic work. He later mentioned, “unlike realism, abstraction has very few boundaries. Within a world of painting nothing, you are simultaneously painting everything.”

For Martin “Pretty Pain” encapsulates healing in the aftermath of personal tragedy and represents a rebirth of sorts. It launched him in a new artistic direction that expanded his artistic vocabulary using a variety of techniques. By utilizing recycled aluminum printing plates, the artist has built on an existing dialogue. By interweaving his story into the materials and surfaces and removing the authorship of the advertising that was on the plates, the previous language becomes simply a visual gesture in order to layer upon. The digitally inspired fractal works become another code when combined with the perceived landscape that comes to mind when you’ve seen Martin’s previous paintings. The fractals are a direct result from the method of his hyperrealism, but with some form of distortion, or a filter. The artist’s hand can be immediately recognized, even though this is nothing like he has painted before.

In this exhibition, the artist departs from his roots of hyperrealism – his technique is said to be comparable to Richard Estes, Otto Duecker, or even Will Cotton – and embarks on a new path, similar to Gerhard Richter as Martin’s early paintings were based on photography – both his own and found imagery – and transitioned into photography based abstract works. In Miranda Fractals, Martin has bridged his hyperrealism with the abstract, to create abstract-realism. Though it can be reminiscent of Chuck Close and his use of the ben-day dots, Martin uses printing techniques to start, and the abstract imagery emerges. Martin paints “fractal dots” in the abstract parts, but only “realism” in the figurative part, continuing the dichotomy that has existed all along.

Born in Pennsylvania, Martin attended Towson State University in Maryland, and then went on to study at the Schuler School of Fine Art in Baltimore. Recent exhibitions include a survey exhibition at Penn College, a solo exhibition show at the Station Gallery, and a featured artist show at Windsor Whip Works Gallery.

The artist lives and works in New York.

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