tempts me to the barbeque hootch in the back yard, traps me there between the drum of rain on the plastic roof and the smoke of charring steaks. Six minutes per side of beef; nothing to do but sit like a neighborhood cat in the canvas chair, spatula in one hand; bubbles in the other. For the first time I notice how our backyard is like being inside a green glass jar, how the wind shakes the pear and cherry blossoms in wind spirals of petals, how flocks of kinglets with their high, distant voices never stop commenting on their aerial world and the worth of bud burst.
–Sandy Brown Jensen Last April 2011 sometime Notes retrieved from my journal
Limbo of the Mother Venus by Paul Martinson 2009Watercolor, watercolor pencil and gouache on paper
My friend Maria Middlestead purchased this painting and sent methe link to Paul Martinson’s work. Martinson is a famous painter from New Zealand specializing originally in scientific bird illustrations.
Two Black and White Creatures in Trance and Sleep by Paul Martinson 2007Watercolor, watercolor pencil and gouache on paper
Live Trance Performance by Paul Martinson 2009Acrylic and watercolor on paper
Later in his life (and this interesting material from his gallery website): “The artist acquainted himself, at a rudimentary level, with Freud’s concept of the “free flow of ideas” from the subconscious. This idea, with its basis in psychoanalysis, fundamentally informed Psychic Automatism, a method of expression predominantly influencing art and literature in the third decade of the twentieth century.
The Destination of Oblivion by Paul Martinson 2009Watercolor, watercolor pencil and gouache on paper
Psychic Automatism subsequently formed the basis of Andre Breton Surrealist’s Manifesto of 1924. The Manifesto claimed that, “Pure psychic automatism…(meant)…thought dictated in the absence of all control exerted by reason, and outside any aesthetic or moral preoccupation.”
The Creatures Must Sleep by Paul Martinson 2009Watercolor, watercolor pencil and gouache on paper
While Martinson acknowledges that it is impossible to give oneself over entirely to the “flow of information” from the subconscious uncensored by the intellect, he attempts to work by intuition alone without censoring on the basis of reason, scale and anatomical accuracy.
“Automatic drawing for me is a personal thing, but has in common with its origins in the Surrealist movement, a “sanctioned” right to draw spontaneously without conscious reference to normality, morality and social taboos…it is an attempt to allow a ” free flow” of imagery and ideas as a painter. I feel such freedom is an important aspect of personal expression.”
2009Watercolor, watercolor pencil, gold foil and gouache on paper
For this artist, it is as if his subconscious is filled to overflowing with myriad experiences, thoughts and ideas around the depiction of birds, both extinct and existing, and they will make their presence felt. Martinson believes we are therefore, at any time the sum of our entire experience which includes on one hand the connections we make throughout our life with all other creatures on the planet, even fleetingly (this comprises the great range of relationships we make), everyday experience, and the swirling, interlocking personal reality of our subconscious, and all that it comprises.
Therefore, at the end of a decade of painting birds objectively they continue to dominate current work, although in contexts far removed from their purely representational origins – often in isolation, but more often, with a Venus figure.” (Source: Sanderson Contemporary Art Online Gallery)
As a viewer, I respond on two levels to Martinson’s work. I respond as a birdwatcher, as an admirer of fine bird illustration to his scientific renderings. I respond as a poet and a dreamer to the staged psychodramas caught in the halflight between worlds of waking and sleeping. Each painting is an illustration from a story I seem to be telling myself that is too deep and too important to lose.