BY TERRI PROVENCAL PORTRAIT BY MICHAEL HATHAWAY
IF YOU CAN
With a show in Venice Biennale through
November and a turn at Scope Basel,
Christopher Martin is going global.
hristopher Martin was ebullient during
a phone conversation from his Aspen
home last month. The artist and gallerist
had just returned from participating in
“Personal Structures enabled me to further expand
the scope of my work, literally and figuratively;
sharing my inspiring relationship with nature and with
the rest of the world in Venice during the Biennale,”
Some may say it’s been a circuitous road from
the opening of his original 600-square-foot Sale
Street gallery by Lee Park in 1994, though Martin
will tell you his path has always been unswerving.
“My method has been a little unorthodox to open
vertical galleries rather than find representation
immediately,” he explains. His choice seems to be
working. In addition to his local success, Martin’s
artwork is wooing collectors internationally. Meeting
the demands of three eponymous galleries in both
Dallas and Aspen, plus representation at Laura Rathe
Fine Art in Dallas and Houston, The McLoughlin
Gallery in San Francisco, KM Fine Arts in Chicago,
and Decorazon Gallery in London, this artist’s
brushes are rarely sedentary. Earlier this year,
Decorazon showed Chris’s paintings in Hong Kong,
Brussels, and stateside in New York.
The handsome painter, with an equally comely
wife, Stacie, uses nature’s color palette as his guide
for compositions that often yield 30 layers of paint.
Inspired by “wood grain, the cosmos, sun, sea, or
even ski tracks,” he describes his paintings as highly
organic, referring to his style as organic expressionism.
He applies the verre églomisé technique—a French term
meaning glass gilded on the reverse side that traces
back to the 14th century. “I start with clear acrylic panel
then apply heat, wind, water, brush, and pigment in
a reverse order to create my paintings,” Martin
describes. His artworks may appear straightforward,
but only a practiced artist would be able to achieve
these visual statements through a complex process,
painting multiple acrylic layers without the coats
drying too quickly or unevenly.
“At first glance Martin’s work appears simple,
then the journey begins as his imagery draws you
in exploring the layers of paint, the masterful brush