The work showing at Woodward Gallery, “Knox Martin- Woman: Black & White Paintings”-----The Black and White paintings of Knox Martin give to and take from the drawing that he does all the time, as well as the interchange between large paintings, portraits and sculpture. Martin quotes Matisse: “Painting is an expanded drawing.” New doors are opened from one work to another. In this exchange, there is the continuous exploration of the Masters.
Basic to Martin's work is the perception that high art is the creation of reality. The subject matter of such art is creation and the elements that are involved are its concern. Creation feeds on the manipulation of what itself is. This is what fires his work.
These paintings contain and compress the essence of the radical; the work at work - creating senses not yet known! A work you must be tutored by! A hilarity producing consternation! A space is altered in surprise, but in a seamless way. There is no foreground or background (in the Hermetic Cubism there is always an element of foreground, middle or background), in Martin's work references to codified space are eliminated. No push or pull, in or out, up or down. This is crucial to an eventual seeing of the work and essential to its basic poetics.
Most of these paintings are of women: with flowers, sharing a bouquet with you - looking at you! The variety within a theme is extraordinary: brush strokes echo Goya, Picasso and DeKooning. The smaller paintings bear a startling load. They have been worked on for 22 years and they have always been complete. Like a fragment of' a holograph that is clone to its prototype, these paintings individually manifest a master poetics encoding a perpetual freshness that, in the end, is the anatomy of esthetics: in each the lines wave through the flames that have burnt away all of the nonessentials, exposing the dues one must pay to wield the fire.
A basic intuition, displaying the shadows of creation at their most elemental!
-Julio Congora, Barcelona, 2010