Orion Martin

H.E.D. (geim n gebult), 2016 five plate aquatint etching with burnishing and soft ground, 42 x 30.5 in, edition of 25

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Press Release

Orion Martin created H.E.D. (geim n gebult) during his first collaboration with Wingate Studio, a two week residency in fall 2016. Martin is an L.A.-based painter whose work is in part characterized by a saturated palette, bodily infliction, recontextualization, and the allure of the surface, and has been compared to the work of Chicago Imagists such as Jim Nutt and Robert Lostutter.

Martin collected images from various sources to create a surrealistic composite in which an impeccably described boot floats in front of an androgynous head whose fuzzy rendering evokes an out of focus pixelation. In this five-plate etching the top of the boot breaks with
the traditional rectangle through the use of shaped plates. Martin utilized the physicality of different etching processes to sculpt the opposing aesthetics—aquatint with burnishing to create the sensual highlights and shadows of the hyperrealistic boot, and soft ground drawn with the thick tip of a worn down colored pencil to create the out of focus head. It is the disparity between the processes that also creates the space in this work, allowing the boot to pop forward and the soft head to recede. The boot, its dimensionality luscious and alluring, arouses the desire to touch, but as your fingertips move closer the illusion disappears, flattening before you. The boot is anthropomorphically reminiscent of high fashion and sexualized body parts, grommets pressing into the flesh-like surface and laces crisscrossing over the lips of the piping. This is cooled down by the head that floats sexless and expressionless in the background, unaffected by what’s right in front of its eyes, the proverbial cold shower.

In the studio

Martin (b. 1988, California) lives and works in Los Angeles, CA. He has recently had solo exhibitions at Corbett vs Dempsey (Chicago, IL), Bodega (New York, NY), Favorite Goods (Los Angeles, CA), and Important Projects (Oakland, CA), and has been in recent group shows at Rob Tufnell (Cologne, Germany), Species (Atlanta, GA), BFA Boatas (Sao Paulo, Brazil), Galleria Acappella (Napoli, Italy), Eric Hussenot (Paris, France), Whitney Museum of American Art (New York, NY), and Nicelle Beauchene (New York, NY). His work is in the permanent collection of the Whitney Museum of American Art and private collections internationally.