Chris Martin's "Painting Big" at the Corcoran: A D.C. native comes home in a big way
- Chris Martin, 'Griffin,' 1980, courtesy the artist and Mitchell-Innes & Nash, New York
Chris Martin, whose show, “Painting Big,” opens today at the Corcoran Gallery of Art, uses his local roots as inspiration for much of his abstract art. You just may not know that by his piece White Bread, 23 slices of Wonder painted white. The hometown influence is a lot more evident on one of the three giant paintings that greet visitors walking in the Corcoran's front entrance, an homage to WOL and WOOK, the local radio stations featuring soul and Motown that Martin loved as a teenager.
At 26 feet, the paintings, created for this show, come close to reaching the skylights of the museum’s atrium and were, Martin says, inspired in part by his memories of visiting the Corcoran when he was a boy.
Another huge work, a wavy black-and-white balustrade, makes a playful nod to the Corcoran’s white columns. “When I thought about working in this space, I just saw a giant form like this,” Martin, who lives in New York, says.
This is Martin’s first exhibition in D.C. and his first one-artist exhibit. The show, part of the contemporary art series, NOW at the Corcoran, says curator Sarah Newman, “responds to the place: the building, the Corcoran, the city.”
In addition to those three powerful works, there’s a continuation of the exhibit in the museum’s rotunda, a collection of smaller paintings and collages taken from the last 25 years of Martin’s work.
- 'Staring Into the Sun... (4->7->11),' 2003, courtesy the artist and Mitchell-Innes & Nash, New York
Stacked in salon style, the works fill the walls like so many art projects from a first-grade classroom: one work on a pillow, another a seven-pointed star, and another a brilliant cardinal on a straight brown branch.
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