For Donald Martiny, gesture is a constant point of exploration, with each piece relating to gesture in different ways. Some are composed of a single act, while others are built of a cluster of tight strokes. A devoted attention to mark making, intense color, movement and scale are at the forefront of his work. The work in this exhibition brings viewers to a point beyond passive observation. Instead, Martiny invites us to become immersed within them, to actively experience and feel each piece.
His works posses a great deal of activity, a humanity that Donald is in tune with. “I want to put the human experience into it. In a sense they are self portraits, a direct reflection of my physicality at a specific time.” Created on the floor as Donald moves around them, employing brooms and at times his own hands as brushes, he is able to push and pull the material, using the whole of his body at the moment of their creation.
By leaving the support of the canvas behind, Martiny’s paintings are speaking about “the act” of painting. This isolation of the brushstroke shifts the spotlight to make their movement front and center. By coming off the surface it also removes the art historical reference of paintings as a window, or a doorway, and rather finds them in direct conversation with the architecture of the space, the person looking at them, and the resulting intimate relationships formed inside the space in which they are located.
Donald’s work raises an awareness of what is it to be a painting, and the value of one against the whole. They also challenge us to consider how one interacts with their surroundings, and what it means to “move”.
Donald Martiny studied at the School of the Visual Arts, The Art Students League in New York, New York University and the Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts. His work has been exhibited throughout the United States and internationally at museums and institutions: North Carolina Museum of Art, Raleigh, NC; College of Fine Arts and Design, University of Sharja, UAE; Falmouth Art Museum, Cornwall, UK; Alden B. Dow Museum, Midland, MI; GreenHill Center for the Arts, Greensboro, NC; East Wing Biennial, The Courtauld Institute of Art, London, UK; Contemporary Art Museum Raleigh, Raleigh, NC; Cameron Art Museum, Wilmington, NC; Fort Wayne Museum of Art, Fort Wayne, IN; University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill, NC; International Biennial of Non-Objective Art, Pont de Claix, France. In 2015 Martiny received a commission from the Durst Organization to create two monumental paintings that are permanently installed in the lobby of One World Trade Center in New York City. That same year he also received the Sam & Adele Golden Foundation for the Arts Residency Grant.