Christopher H. Martin


Texas based artist, Christopher H Martin, has achieved regional, national, and international recognition for creating abstract expressions on acrylic and canvas. Inspired by the pursuit of intricate patterns and rhythms of nature and weather, Chris manipulates his paint to mimic the effects of heat, wind, water, and pressure to harness a natural vision. The vibrant acrylic on acrylic pieces, which have become his signature, glow with iridescence and metallic highlights while his digital photography freezes and captures tiny microcosms within nature. In the 16 years since Christopher signed and sold his first painting, he has become as masterful at exhibiting his work as he is at creating it, successfully launching two large Dallas galleries, a Los Angeles gallery, and now a gallery in Aspen. With multiple dealer relationships across the country and gallery representation including San Francisco, Laguna Beach, Houston, and Los Angeles his work has now spread globally to corporate collections from Bermuda to Hong Kong. What sets him apart is a style as fluid and changing as the organic compositions he creates. Year after year his clients return adding more pieces to their individual collections.

The spectrum of Chris' private and corporate collectors runs the gamut from the former President George Bush Sr., who was given one of Chris' 9- 11 flags as the recipient of the Joseph Prize, firms such as Deloitte and Touche, Gensler Arc.hitecture, Boeing Aerospace, Met Life, and the MGM Grand and Mirage Hotel & Casinos, to the retired bus driver who called raving after his lasik surgery about how bright his paintings are, or the schoolteacher who took two years to payoff her painting. extraordinary luminous circles that now grace the sixty-by-twenty-foot wall of the Equinox Spa and Gym in Dallas were pitched without Chris ever having painted a single circular piece of acrylic. Subsequently one viewer reveling at the installation led to his next challenge, a commission inspired by the same Equinox piece, for the lobby of the new Dove Mountain Ritz Hotel, in Tucson, Arizona. From the smallest to the largest work, the majesty and magnitude for each is equally imbued with color and suffused with magical light. Yet the simplicity of his pieces belies a complex underpinning of thought and technique. While the metallic paints impart a luminosity that changes depending upon the angle of viewing, the paint dries very quickly. Chris has described painting this way like a chess game- thinking four or five moves ahead to avoid literally painting himself, and the piece, into a corner. The Metropolitan Museum of Art's Munich curator of reverse glass painting, Simone Bretz, states, "Well-executed reverse-glass paintings do not reveal the complexity of their manufacture. Since the designs are applied to the back of the glass panes they must be built up in reverse- starting with the foreground and working "backwards" -which makes corrections virtually impossible."

'The closer a piece is to natural formations or patterns the more successful I feel it is," says Martin. 'There is a great art piece by Marcel Duchamp. I can't remember the title, but he left a piece of glass in nature for a year and then represented it as art. It's an example of the artistic effect of time and weather. It also challenges what we think of as art."

For Martin, art is a very internal process. His abstractions draw on "patterns of nature occurring within other patterns," and art then processed through soul- searching sessions of substantive painting. his studio looking out at the east Texas fields Chris marvels, "When you observe wood grains, the veining of a marble slab, the alternating colors in petrified wood, sand dunes, rivers, mountains, deserts, cellular formations, they are all inherently poetic and attuned to the laws of abstraction. Study them closely, and you'll identify compositions of wondrous abstraction. We are surrounded by H1ese ~masterpieces." works are studies detailing foliage markings while others capture random patterns of water droplets or splashes - allowing the viewer a peek into an organic kaleidoscope of unexpected order. It is precisely this order which harnesses the colorful chaos, bringing strength and harmony to each work. But Martin didn't plan it this way - he creates by allowing each painting to take on a life of its own - experimenting until "the piece finds its pulse, that's the exciting part", he says. Constantly experimenting with application methods keeps Christopher freshly engaged. His wit is apparent when he says, 'The control and manipulation of patterns of water and paint is much like herding cats," but the end results can be truly beautiful."