Jason Martin effects oscillations between sculpture and painting, with the vigour of action painting but a controlled hand. He is perhaps best known for his monochromatic paintings, where layers of oil or acrylic gel are dragged across hard surfaces such as aluminium, stainless steel or Plexiglas with a fine, comb-like piece of metal or board in one movement, often repeated many times. Striations catch the light, their rhythmic textures suggestive of the ridges in a vinyl record, strands of wet hair, the grain of a feather – and whose titles flirt with association (Comrade, Amphibian, Corinthian). Martin does away with paint altogether in his wall-mounted casts of copper, bronze and nickel, whose surfaces are unctuous but frozen. In pure pigment works, vivid colour is applied to moulded panels, whose baroque contortions appear like an extreme close-up of a painter’s palette. These raw, worked surfaces find their equal and opposite in the recent sculpture Behemoth (2012), where the object (a huge cubic pile of cork on the floor) is impregnated with black pigment, rendering it a mass of surface.
Jason Martin was born in Jersey, in the Channel Islands, in 1970 and lives and works between London and Portugal. He has a BA from Goldsmiths, London (1993). Solo exhibitions include Palazzo Cavalli Franchetti, Venice (2013), Le Consortium, Dijon, France (2012), Peggy Guggenheim Collection, Venice (2009), Es Baluard Museu d’Art Modern i Contemporani de Palma, Majorca (2008), Kunstverein Kreis Gŭtersloh, Germany (2007), Centro de Arte Contemporáneo de Málaga, Spain (2005). He was a prizewinner in John Moores 21, Liverpool Biennial of Contemporary Art, UK (1999) and of the Golfo della Spezia, European Biennial of the Visual Arts, La Spezia, Italy (2000).