Chris Martin

January 13 - February 26, 2022

Chris Martin’s fifth solo exhibition at Anton Kern Gallery takes place on the first floor, presenting eleven new paintings. Five line the entrance, leading viewers into the back atrium where five eleven foot paintings are hung, creating a chapel-like experience. One small painting, a tribute to the late Lance De Los Reyes, presides over the exhibition, hung high and greeting those who enter and exit. Images and depictions of the cosmos are a uniting thread among all of the paintings: inky night skies, planets, constellations, stars, and moons. 


In an upcoming publication about Martin and his work in the 80s, Raymond Foye notes the importance of the Catskills on the artist:


This landscape is the primary influence on the artist, a source he has returned to repeatedly in times of crisis, or simply renewal. He was observing patterns: for days on end he would sit by a lake and look at the surface of the water, studying the flatness and the circular patterns made by insects on the surface. Walking in the forest he would observe the spirals of the fiddlehead ferns, finding the same arrangements in the galaxies in the night sky. It was a further step away from the academy, and another way to make abstraction personal not formal.

For Martin [the] Catskills were (and are) more than just a landscape, they constitute a metaphysics—a form of being, of knowing, a different configuration of time and space.


The influence is clear in all of these new works, a number of which were painted in his Catskills studio. The five paintings in the gallery’s back atrium are all atmospheric skyscapes—some seeming to directly depict the constellations and night sky of the open woods and fields. It is not only nature found in these works, but the influence of Brooklyn, music, and pop culture are also evident—in Telescope Sphinx in Outer Space, for example, Martin’s painted galaxy is populated by collaged images of Greta Garbo as the Sphinx, sailors, mushrooms, frogs, birds, musicians, and pot leaves—among others—creating humor and play in all of the cosmic. 


Also on display in the gallery are two new exhibitions: Georg Baselitz drawings, and a solo show from Marcus Jahmal. The two are intentionally paired with Martin, giving viewers an opportunity to explore the dialogue between all three artists. Baselitz’s drawings are a particular favorite of Martin’s; and Jahmal and Martin are friends who visit each other’s Brooklyn studios. The three exhibitions are holistically intertwined, offering a rare opportunity to see three artists who work very differently, but are also in dialogue with one another and all share a joy of painting.

Installation Views