Martin Gayford offers Moonlighting exhibition in Lewes

Martin Gayford (contributed pic)Martin Gayford (contributed pic)
Martin Gayford (contributed pic)
Martin Gayford’s Moonlighting is the latest exhibition at the Star Brewery Gallery, Lewes, running from May 18-26.

London born and living in Lewes, Martin offers in Moonlighting a selection of his recent paintings and drawings, presenting a series of structural motifs that deal with perceptions of scale. Devoid of any obvious human presence, these works are ambiguous and suggestive, simultaneously depicting huge architectural structures and small objects, he says.

The idea of changing scale has developed in Martin’s work, particularly in the relationship between his oil paintings and pencil drawings. Martin began creating his imagined cityscapes in 2020, displaying an influence of the deserted streets during the pandemic.

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Worked in graphite, the intentionally anonymous spaces began incorporating forms more closely resembling household objects, such as a cardboard box or a ruler, he says. In this way, the drawings hover between monumental city or desert landscapes and still lives. The work also bears a resemblance to a recurring dream Martin had as a child.

“I could relate it to various things; skyscrapers, computer graphics, infinite space… something resembling a huge grid, moving continuously into the sky. There was a sense of awe, humour and trepidation, all at the same time. At a young age, I often asked how time and space could be infinite. No one seemed to have an explanation! At one point in the dream, something tiny, like a speck on my finger, began to grow in size, eventually becoming larger than I could fit in my field of vision.”

In his new paintings, Martin has magnified and often reorientated details from the drawings, exploring the motifs on a new scale. His enjoyment of the way oil paint runs, sticks, smudges and is absorbed into canvas contrasts with the rigid outlines of the images, which appear to almost buckle or disintegrate in places. He draws attention to these details, light like gauze on a brick building offering a pause for reflection, shadows lengthening suggesting a huge structure caving in on itself.

Martin was born in London in 1971.

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