XL Catlin Commission, 2011
Acrylic on canvas
182 x 182 cm
Collection of XL Catlin
Courtesy of the artist
Having won the XL Catlin Commission Prize, British artist Will Martyr was asked to create a large-scale artwork for the global insurer’s London headquarters. The brief was simple: to incorporate the iconic building. Martyr created a huge eye-popping abstract. At nearly two metres square, the headquarters has been doubled and flipped, the single point perspective compels the building to simultaneously rush into the centre and soar outwards, and the powerful palette of teal and orange causes the artwork to oscillate and vibrate.
Originals by Martyr range from £5,000 for smaller pieces to £30,000 for the large museum-size artworks. At his solo exhibition this June, Martyr will be showcasing a limited edition print: a sun-drenched minimalist interior overlooking a lake. Made to an extremely high specification, it requires 35 separate silk screens – almost unprecedented in printing – to achieve the luxurious finish. Since the originals are beings bought as quickly as they’re being made - all works are anticipated to be sold by opening night – the print, in the short term, might be the only way to own Martyr’s work.
‘Wanderlust’, Unit London, 23rd June - 29th July 2017 www.theunitldn.com
Hedge, issue 46, July 2017, pp68-74
English painter Will Martyr creates beautiful scenes of luxurious properties set in stunning locations. The images are dream-like hybrids of places Martyr has visited – the skies could be from the British Virgin Islands, the sea may be Mexico, elements of the buildings and trees possibly the Alps - combined with the most sumptuous of images taken from architectural journals. Creating these utopian landscapes from a multiplicity of remembered and found places, Martyr aims to trigger happy memories in the viewer of former visits to gorgeous places.
Martyr purposely excludes the presence of people in his paintings; in doing so, he creates a sense of excitement of an event about to happen or people about to arrive. The inclusion of modernist architecture and furniture gives the works a nostalgic feel; as Martyr says: “West Coast Modernism, Palm Springs Modern - it screams cocktails by the pool, relaxation, and the good life. We all want a bit of that, don’t we?” Yes, we do.
For more information, see raritygallery.com; theunitldn.com; willmartyr.com
Hedge, issue 41, June 2016, pp66-74