Martin Golland, 'Arcadia': March 6 - April 12, 2014, Birch Contemporary (Toronto)
Known predominantly for his oil paintings on canvas of improvised architectural structures, Golland has always used these imagined sites as a playground for the fractured phenomenon of perception. His paintings present the blur of imagined and perceived realness in order to question the integrity of representation and the instability of memory and place. The physical properties of paint itself – its materiality -warp the subject matter they describe. Built from a range of pictorial conventions his intention is to salvage past painting traditions and fashion them into a re-visioned present that offers up enticing disjunctive scenes. His imagery is reconfigured to explore a metaphoric state that oscillates between demolition and construction.
This exhibition was envisioned as a series of works of oil and acrylic polymer on paper (Mylar). This material shift has played an interesting role in relation to Golland’s imagery. Suddenly there is less capacity to build up the paint. The semi-opaque nature and plasticity of Mylar offers a slipperiness that further accentuates the blurriness and abstract quality of the transitional zones in the works. There is an inherent transparent quality to found-imagery that gets sutured together that enhances the sense of entropy and the lack of foothold present in these imagined spaces. The theme for this new work is centered on the idea of a catchall garden. Overgrowth, rocks, grasses and trees push through old cement, semi-walled-in enclosures and unearthed foundation platforms.
“My goal is to make visible an environment of embedded growth and entropy, an entwining, tight like braids, of natural and constructed elements that would not otherwise stand up by themselves. Damp and dry, smooth and rough, the paintings are built up of gestures of drips, scrapes, frottage and stains that transform my subjects to reveal the events of presence and of absence. The intent in the final result of each painting is to present the blur of imagined and perceived realness, a state of perceiving that falls between strangeness and reverie.”