Paintings by Cameron Martin

Currently, there is a exhibition of beautiful and unique paintings by Whitney Biennial artist, Cameron Martin, at Greenberg Van Doren. The paintings, almost monochromatic and devoid of color, are of untouched scenes in nature - sunlight and shadow playing across broken rocks, a wooded wall of skinny birches, a water fall and trees with their snake-like roots. The works, acrylic on canvas, are painted in whites, creams and varying shades of gray and once you find a good position in front of the painting, you must take the time and be patient to capture all the subtle details of his subjects. The lack of pigment and the bleached out effect of the canvas reminds one of faded photos or postcards, which is further emphasized by his use of cropping and thick white borders around his scenes. These borders are made more apparent by the artist placing the whole scene off center. If you look even closer, there are horizontal striations throughout the painting - reminiscent of lines through an old tv screen. There is a tension between seeing and not seeing and there is a presence of the idea of memory and memories that fade over time. While you are looking at the painting, it seems to disappear in front of you at the same time. Whether there is an environmental message here or a simple contemporary study of nature, Martin's canvases are a serene and quiet respite from our daily urban life.