Luke Martineau - 'My Life in Paint'
16th May - 8th Jun 2012
NEW e-catalogue available of the show
My life in paint
The work you see in this catalogue is my life in paint. A bit like diary records of the time spent making them, the pictures hopefully encapsulate the pleasure I find in the visual world, and in the actual process of making marks of paint. For this exhibition I have revisited old haunts, but soaked up new places too. My first trip to New York, in October last year, was exciting but also a challenge: how to paint such a big thing with such little brushes?
London, especially the Thames in west London, inevitably forms one part of my landscape output. The stretch of river along Chelsea embankment, dominated each end by the iconic chimneys of Lots Road and Battersea power stations, holds seemingly endless material for the study of light on water. As the sun alters the tones, and the tides physically rearrange the furniture of boats and beaches, it is wonderful to observe the way the whole mood of the landscape shifts subtly hour by hour. It was good enough for Turner and Whistler, and for me that area is personally resonant as I spent a year either side of university at Heatherley’s art school in Lots Road.
Exmoor and North Wales also predominate, Exmoor because it has been the destination for family holidays all my life, my grandfather having bought a cottage in the village of Withypool in 1950, and North Wales because my mother-in-law ‘s house on the edge of Bodnant Garden is my wife’s family’s focal point, especially in the spring and summer. So the sparkle on the river Barle is not just any old sparkle: it is the sparkle I remember from my childhood, and which my own children now enjoy, and it is infinitely precious to me. And the figures on beaches and among the blossom are observed with love- in many cases throughout the exhibition they could hardly be more so since the subjects concerned are my own children! I hope they won’t mind my trying to sell them.
Like many people I am a great admirer of the work of William Nicholson: he had that ability to say so much with seemingly so little, and he painted the places, the people and the things he loved. It looks effortless! When I think of what I go through to get a picture done on a typical day, shivering by the side of the river in winter in my long johns and fingerless gloves, sweating across the moor in high summer carrying too much, making a mess, struggling away, I like to think of the always dapper Nicholson, knocking out those little poetic studies of his, cigarette in hand and panama-hatted, and try to raise my game.
Luke Martineau April 2012