WHEN MEN AND MOUNTAINS MEET
At its best .... art is a gathering and fashioning of materials which are good into something better, into something which seems to reveal more clearly the logos of the person or object painted.
RAINER MARIA RILKE
The exhibition When Men and Mountains Meet is a distillation of Paul Martin’s lifelong exploration of the nature of nature, and the ways – aesthetic, symbolic, poetic, spiritual – in which we see and understand it. “To perceive nature in any way,” Paul says, “we name, measure, dissect or count it. When we are indifferent we abuse it. Signs, marks, symbols are how we convey what we have seen.”
Impressive both in scale and detail, the 60 - 80 new works in this show all utilise a range of organic materials, including beeswax, resins, powders, bitumen, magnesium oxide and ash alongside more traditional mediums, exemplifying Martin’s innovative painterly practice.
We live today, some might argue, in an increasingly materialistic and technocratic world, obsessed with the pursuit of wealth and enervated by information fatigue. When Men and Mountains Meet seeks to explore the psychological effects of living in such a world, and the human need to find, or to create, a space apart in which to consider the meaning and significance of things, the value we put on our environment and our sense of the poetic and the sacred.
Living our lives as we do also profoundly affects our attitudes both to our own immediate environment and, beyond that, to some of the most delicate and fragile ecosystems on the planet. The exhibition not only looks inwards, then, but also outwards, investigating how the space for reflection created by the arts can alter our perceptions of, and interactions with, the world around us. Aesthetic acts, in other words, are also profoundly moral acts.