The Capital City Arts Initiative [CCAI] presents its exhibition, From the Ground Up, by artist Gil Martin at the CCAI Courthouse Gallery. The exhibit will be in the gallery through May 24, 2017. The exhibition is free and the public is cordially invited. The gallery is open to the public Monday – Friday, 8 am – 5 pm.
Martin said that when he was first studying painting, an artist friend gave him a box of art materials and assorted tools that she no longer needed. In that box was a book on how to make paint from earth pigments. It sat around his studio for years until one day he picked it up and started reading. His interest piqued, he started driving around looking for colored dirt from road cuts.
For over 20 years he has made his own paint from natural earth pigments that he digs up from various sources in the western United States. He uses a starch paste made from corn meal as a binder and adds water to create a more or less viscous paint.
Martin describes his process: “I like to work my pieces outside, both on the ground and tacked to a wall. The paint pools up in the small depressions and flows over uneven surfaces of canvas and paper laid on the ground or drips down in furrows on the pinned pieces. There is always an element of chance to the painting process. The material speaks and I then react to the needs of the painting.”
His latest body of work has unmistakable references to Western landscapes. He neither foster those images, nor eschew them. They mainly come about by working horizontal bands of color against one another until the painting unifies. His goal is to create a provocative visual experience, first for himself, then, hopefully, for other viewers.
This exhibition is funded in part by Nevada Humanities, Nevada's nonprofit state affiliate of the National Endowment for the Humanities.