Prospecting - what an apt title for a Leigh Martin exhibition of new work! As in Mass Raster, 2016: Martin has taken the squeegee repeatedly to sheets of paper, pulling paint up, down and from side to side in a relentless controlled process - searching, searching for idiosyncrasy within the colour field and for the right moment to stop.
Sometimes layers of just one colour are manipulated into the paper, as in the large exquisitely bruised-looking green Field Recording #31. At other times, two or more colours are layered on top of one another, left bled, pressed and striated by chance in the vigorous pursuit of pleasure.
Field Recording #28 is almost 1200mm high, a glorious rusty orange atop a deep grapey red. The edges have a rich dark presence. Some of their decals have gotten caught in the squeegee and been pulled through the lighter russet, leaving vertical lines of the dark ground to show through. The feeling is of a rich opulence, rather than surface film scratched. There is a timeless and time-consuming play of edge, surface area and tensile fluidity in motion. There are teals, lilacs and pinks too. But Martin's control of tone is very considered and always richly rewarding.
Press release courtesy Jonathan Smart Gallery.