Hales is delighted to announce O pleasure! pleasure!, Martyn Cross‘s debut solo display with the gallery. The exhibition options new paintings that muse on Gustav Flaubert’s seminal book The Temptation of St Anthony.
Cross is mostly a painter engaged with ‘world building.’ The act of painting for him is a usually means to discover the internal daily life and strangeness of the standard. Every work starts in fact, with recognizable limbs and elements of landscape, which change into uncanny scenes. Biomorphic landscapes communicate to mythologies, but in Cross’s paintings the narratives are knowingly ambiguous. Familiar and mysterious, silent and epic, scale and irregularity in proportion puzzles the viewer.
Recognized for paintings which are intentionally difficult to put in history, there is a timelessness to Cross’s operates, reminiscent of unearthed artifacts. Paintings are designed in contemplative levels the pigments remain vivid – his application and beautiful use of color produces functions that hum. Sanding and scratching the area, Cross strives to make paintings that have lived a existence, the trace of their existence apparent. Monumental hangings converse to a heroic narrative of larger powers, presented along with little paintings which are jewel-like and personal.
Cross has long been fascinated by depictions of the Temptation of St Anthony all over art background, notably Hieronymus Bosch’s The Temptation of St Anthony* which is a person of the additional subdued iterations. Observing how formulaic the the vast majority of depictions are, Cross notes a reoccurrence of ‘a wild hunting Tony’ battling with demons in bodily types. Possessing study Flaubert’s Temptation of St Anthony this yr, Cross was struck how simply the surrealist imagery was conjured from the web pages. Reading the final paragraph of Flaubert’s novel Cross has likened to finding his ‘holy grail’ – the words and phrases properly aligning with his practice and fostered a motivation to make extra operate:
‘O contentment! pleasure! I have seen the delivery of lifestyle, I have found the beginning of motion. The blood in my veins is beating so tough that it will burst them. I truly feel like traveling, swimming, yelping, bellowing, howling. I would like to have wings, a carapace, a rind, to breathe out smoke, wave my trunk, twist my body, divide myself up, to be within every single-issue, to drift away with odours, build as plants do, movement like drinking water, vibrate like sound, gleam like light-weight, to curl myself up into each and every form, to penetrate every atom, to get down to the depth of subject – to be issue!’
For quite a few yrs, prior to reading through this affirming paragraph, Cross experienced been acquiring motifs that imbue the psychological and the otherworldly into landscapes. The is effective in the exhibition take The Temptation of St Anthony as a starting off issue – there are no actual physical manifestations of demons but instead explorations of concepts that align with Flaubert’s spirit and individual desire in issue woven into the story. The title of the exhibition, O happiness! joy! directly rates Flaubert, giving a wry commentary of a sought-following emotion, counterbalancing the darker, more introspective themes of the paintings. Cross states, ‘I feel about these past pair of years, especially with lockdown, we have all develop into a little bit Anthony…Locked in ourselves with our demons…’ Billowing clouds, swirling waves, tumbling waterfalls, arching bodies, all-seeing eyes, outsized pointing fingers and blistering suns type visions of inward reflection.