Calming Aesthetics: Inside the world of Christopher Martin Gallery
Both Christopher Martin and Kinga Czerska offer an organic, peaceful aesthetic through distinctive processes of layering acrylics.
Martin takes a backwards approach, so to speak: He begins with a sheet of polycarbonate glass and applies 60-80 layers of feathery paint and coordinated droplets from foreground to background. The inverse of canvas painting, his initial strokes are the most essential, and the final are of little consequence. His use of glass allows the fluidity, clarity and crispness of colors to shine through.
Heat, air, water and paint contribute to his organic expression of interlaced ovals, linear movements, arcs and fields of color. Just as a botanist crosses variant orchids to produce a stunning new strain, he has a family tree of nearly 7,000 paintings, from which he fuses and evolves final pieces.
“I’m always looking for accidents or something that comes through,” Martin says. “In the end, I paint to create a strong, aesthetically engaging presence that evokes a calm excitement of natural beauty. I like to create something with an atmospheric presence that has an easy energy and is easy to be around.”
Inspiration may stem from a forest canopy or reflections upon water and morph into “aesthetically identifiable fractal patterns that soothe your eyes,” he says, adding that in a world of art that shouts and pushes narratives, “I want my work to feel like it has this solid, calming presence.”
Support Local Journalism
In a similar vein, Czerska employs multiple layers of acrylic paint (albeit, on canvas), and then sands them to expose an elegant and precise balance of underlying structures. To complete the meditative aesthetic, she hand paints meticulous details in white.
“After building layers and sanding, then you reveal what the painting is going to become,” Czerska says about the intricate process, which takes weeks. “Even though it’s acrylic paint, it evokes this visceral feeling and emotional connection to the painting, which is what makes us human — having this emotional connection.”
She views the world as countless molecules zooming around, held together by different forces.
“I’m very interested in patterns and nature and how it all relates,” she says. “My work is also atmospheric and spiritual. Even though each natural or manmade object has a shape or form, they are just interconnected together with these thin veils, these forces that hold them together.”
By imagining everything as undulating and shifting energy patterns flattened in one plane, she hopes people will perceive disparate parts as one entity.
“In the end, everything is interconnected, everything matters, everything leads to everything. Nothing is isolated. I would love for my work to bring that home to people,” she says.
Through this lens, viewers begin to see themselves and nature differently. In fact, many have told her they want to touch the paintings, “almost like they want to put their hands into the painting. There’s a visceral feeling,” she says.
“They surprise people into new spaces and new feelings,” she says, adding that the paintings even surprise her when she sees them in a gallery or home a couple months later. “I don’t remember making it. It’s a very fluid process; it’s a very intuitive and open process of exploring paint and the patterns underneath.”
Christopher Martin Gallery also represents other internationally-known artists, including photographers, sculptors and expressionist painters with long and successful track records.
“Initially (I’m drawn) to the aesthetics, craftsmanship and artistic quality, and then I make sure they’re seasoned professionals,” Martin says, adding that he does “take chances on younger artists with fun, entry-level collector pieces, but the majority of the artists have been working for 15-20 or more years.”