Martin Golland, Platform, 2015, oil and acrylic on canvas, 152.5 x 170 cm (60 x 67″)
Last weekend a couple friends and I went to see Martin Golland‘s second solo show at Galerie Antoine Ertaskiran. It’s a gallery that’s had a few shows I’ve made a real point to go see. They show some good contemporary Canadian painters. Martin Golland is one of them. This was the first show of his I’ve seen, though his name and images of his paintings have been familiar for quite a while. He did his undergrad at Concordia, so maybe I heard of him around there. Anyway, I was interested to see what steps his paintings might have taken in the last year or two. It seemed to me he had hit a stride (or plateau, depending on how you look at it) with series of characteristic deconstructed architectures. I thought the painting was really good, but that he also tended toward central, triangular compositions against skies, to give the paintings monumentality. That’s great, but I was afraid that a few more shows of those and they’d be mannerist.
I was happy to see that he had moved to do (what looks to me) some real exploration. He has kept his painterly style, but included figurative and almost totally abstract paintings in this show. Deconstructed architecture and a broad range of techniques seem like a good place to start if you are heading down the road to total abstraction. The show is based around a central idea, rather than iconography, and I think that’s intelligent. Perhaps they are actually mostly about painting itself.
Strangely, I thought the paintings were a little modest in size. I say strange because I rarely care, and if I do I usually wish a painting wasn’t so large. Sometimes I think about what a painting might look like without all it’s overwhelming bravado. Maybe it’s the architecture in Golland’s paintings that make me think about scale. One large painting probably would have satisfied that passing thought.
His little collages were very well framed. Gorgeously framed.
I keep trying, but it’s rare I make it to the end of a press release/artist statement. This includes my own of course. I can’t pretend to know what “each work attempts to expand upon the contradiction in the process of creating illusions” really means. Good painting anyhow.