Ann Landi: "As many know, I had the great pleasure of doing an artist’s talk on Saturday with Donald Martiny at the luxe and spacious Madison Gallery in La Jolla, CA. His “brushstroke paintings,” which I saw firsthand for the first-time, really are knock-outs. Like this one, “Sak” (2017), 53 by 34 inches. These are extremely labor intensive to make, but once they’re up on the wall, they sweep you along like a great big thundering wave. I’ll write more about Don in a future “Under the Radar,” but if you’re anywhere near La Jolla, go have a look."
Madison Gallery presents Donald Martiny’s second solo exhibition, Pittura A Macchia. The title refers to the disparagement of Italian Renaissance Master Titian’s late career works as “patchy pictures” or pittura a macchia. Up until Titian’s years, artists aspired to create smooth and unbroken surfaced compositions. This influenced an important shift in art history that centered on the physiological connection between artist and material.
As art critic and writer Ann Landi acutely stated, “up close the visible brushstrokes bring us nearer to the artist because they are such clear evidence of a hand following the dictates of the mind and eye.” Martiny’s work concentrates on the importance of the brushstroke as a real means of connection between artist and material.
In his own words: “because every gesture in the painting does something different. I realized that the architecture of the brushstrokes was as important to the painting as other elements, like color and drawing.” Said brushstrokes are big, lush, exuberant sweeps of pigment that are neither paintings nor sculptures, but hover in a space all their own.
The artist employs pigments, polymer and gallons of paint, sometimes between 30-40 at a time, to create the right color and viscosity to produce each individual composition. He not only utilizes wide brushes and sponges, but also uses his hands and body in order to create a harmonious choreography. He creates a gap between painting and sculpture and rejects the two-dimensional canvas or panel to establish a relationship between space and viewer.