December 17, 2017

Heather Gwen Martin @ L.A. Louver, Venice, CA

Heather Gwen Martin: Currents 
L.A. Louver, Venice, California
Through 6 January, 2018

Heather Gwen Martin
Higher, 2017
Oil in linen, 82 1/2 x 77 in. (209.6 x 195.6 cm)
Courtesy the artist and L.A. Louver, Venice, CA

L.A. Louver presents new works by Los Angeles-based artist HEATHER GWEN MARTIN. All produced over the past year, the exhibition features over a dozen paintings in bold and subdued palettes, and in a wide range of sizes, from small-scale intimate pieces to her largest work to date, approximately 8 x 10 ft. (2.4 x 3 m).

Heather Gwen Martin continues to evolve the color and spatial relationships in her lyrical, vivid abstract paintings. Painting on linen, she first primes each support with an oil ground, embracing the fabric’s natural surface irregularities that result from this process. The underlying texture roots the materiality of the painting to come, and inserts the artist’s hand as the maker. Once the background is awash with color, Heather Gwen Martin develops the composition with varied biomorphic forms and lithe meandering lines, in an array of sumptuous colors. The two-dimensional paintings are not visually flat. Elements push forward, recede back, and traverse everywhere in between.

In Higher (2017), one of the larger paintings in the show, shapes are suspended amidst a crimson red background. A pair of tenuous lines elongate from two soft blue configurations, and reach towards a dark blue almost black form, seemingly lifting it from the void. Meanwhile, green, pink, yellow and blue shapes and lines punctuate the scene. All are interconnected, reactive and conductive, making contact with only the slightest touch.

Heather Gwen Martin
Breather, 2017
Oil on linen, 20 x 21 in. (50.8 x 54.6 cm)
Courtesy the artist and L.A. Louver, Venice, CA

Throughout the exhibition, Heather Gwen Martin’s color dexterity and technical prowess are on full display. Subtler in tonality and smaller in scale, Breather (2017) is a quieter composition. In an atmosphere of muted pink, a luminous yellow radiates upwards to graze a dark green form. A single tendril extends from the dark green, interrupted by a cloud of white that floats atop the picture plane.

When approaching her work, Heather Gwen Martin begins with an initial intent that serves more as a point of departure, rather than a destination. Dissolving any sense of objectivity, the artist releases preconceptions to allow the compositions to materialize with immediacy, experimentation and improvisation. In this state of mindfulness, with an awareness of both interior and exterior motives, Heather Gwen Martin connects currents of consciousness to bring the imagery forth, their impulsivities made visible through her actions made on canvas.

Born in 1977 in Saskatchewan, Canada, Heather Gwen Martin studied at the University of California, San Diego and The School of the Art Institute of Chicago. She has been included in museum exhibitions at the Museum of Contemporary Art San Diego, CA; Torrance Art Museum, CA; El Segundo Museum of Art, CA; and Pizzuti Collection, Columbus, OH. Forthcoming, her work will be included in the group exhibition Chaos and Awe Painting for the 21st Century at The Frist Center for the Visual Arts, Nashville, TN, 22 June – 16 September 2018.

In 2016, Heather Gwen Martin was invited by the Murals of La Jolla to create a towering mural on the exterior of a three-story building. Titled, Landing (2016), the mural is located in the downtown La Jolla neighborhood of San Diego, CA on 7224 Girard Avenue.

45 North Venice Boulevard, Venice, CA, USA