Ron Martin

About the Artist

Ron Martin was born in London, Ontario in 1943. From 1960 to 1964 he studied Commercial Art at H. B. Beal Technical and Commercial School (now H.B. Beal Secondary School) in that city and then shared his first studio with another graduate of the school, Murray Favro. Favro is also profiled in ARTSask under the Technobabble theme.

Martin was greatly influenced by another London-born artist, Greg Curnoe, both for his work in painting and collage, and for his interest in the  DadaAn anti-war/anti-art art movement that developed in Europe between 1910 and 1920. Artists challenged previous art traditions and any sense of logic to present often contradictory and challenging images.  and  SurrealismAn art movement in the early 20th century based on dreams, and the subconscious, and the distortion of representations.  movements. Martin’s first solo exhibition, Pop Collages, was held in Toronto in 1966.

Martin’s art deals with the investigation and manipulation of ideas with paints and watercolours. Writing about Martin and his work, author Dennis Reid noted that: “The philosophical and theoretical nature of Martin’s approach to art is apparent as early as 1967 when he began working on a  seriesA number of things or events standing or succeeding in order, and connected by a like relation; sequence; order; course; a succession of things; as, a continuous series of calamitous events. (The Online Plain Text English Dictionary)  of pieces he called Conclusions and Transfers. In response to a remark of Marcel Duchamp’s about the ‘gap’ in  representationalTo stand for; symbolize. To depict or portray subjects a viewer may recognize as having a likeness; the opposite of abstraction. A representation is such a depiction. (Artlex.com)  painting between the  subjectA topic or idea represented in an art work.  (the thing painted) and the object (the  paintingWorks of art made with paint on a surface. Often the surface, also called a support, is either a tightly stretched piece of canvas or a panel. How the ground (on which paint is applied) is prepared on the support depends greatly on the type of paint to be used. Paintings are usually intended to be placed in frames, and exhibited on walls, but there have been plenty of exceptions. Also, the act of painting, which may involve a wide range of techniques and materials, along with the artist's other concerns which effect the content of a work. (Artlex.com)  itself), Martin sought to bridge this by making an  abstractImagery which departs from representational accuracy, to a variable range of possible degrees. Abstract artists select and then exaggerate or simplify the forms suggested by the world around them.  (Artlex.com)  painting (always in homage to an artist he admired), creating an exact copy, and hanging the two together as a single work.” (Reid, 1988)

Martin has exhibited widely in Canada, the United States and Europe, and participated in the Venice Biennale in 1978.


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