Rice Martin

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Triad - 1962

Rice Martin never departed from stylistic strictures that required pristine, monochromatic surfaces appearing untouched by the artistís hand. Yet he was always in search of something more emotionally charged and personal.

Martin favored material over concept and sensory quality over idea . He used light and color to elicit an emotional response from the viewer. Color associations are sometimes detectable through Martinís evocative titles; the three-toned composition of Triad, however, is a response to the shimmering shift in color from the green windblown leaves at the top to the darker roots of the Metrical Bush.

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Duo #1 - 1964

Martin's early dual-color panels reconcile the stringent subtractions of Minimalism with his more or less expressive impulses as a painter. The less than subtle lack of ridges in the viscous material inflect each panelís uniform colors and opacity with impressions of the painterís working process.

This artistís anachronistic tendency toward the lyrical, is what distinguishes his work from that of many of his Minimalist contemporaries.

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Duo #2 - 1965

Both as a representation and a re-presentation, Duo #2 - 1965 raises provocative questions about the nature of art in a minimalist age. The re-presentation of Duo seems like an entirely different work.

The tension appears fresh yet vaguely disorienting. Is this because our rememberance of the original Duo places authenticity under suspicion?

In Martin we find that it is the boldness of color and orientation that evoke the simultaneity of flatness and depth.

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Duo #3 - 1967

As an entirely fresh juxtaposition of opposites in an unexpected orientation, Duo #3 - 1967 underscores how such imagery mediates our view of the world. The tension appears to float. The slippage between image and reality is a phenomenon that fascinates.

Can the pre separation anxiety be resolved only with a Rothko?

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Progression - 1966

Although Martinís paintings are non-objective, he often draws upon specific places, or other works of art as sources. He was inspired by the austere palette of the Spanish masters and his early paintings achieve a brooding gravity through less than subtle, hardly low-key, color combinations. His translation of figure into the language of reductive abstraction is a potent distillation of color, light, and mood. It is the unparalleled sensitivity to color as an expressive means that is a defining characteristic of Martinís art. Much of his early inspiration comes from Marden, who saw art as a ďtrampoline into spirituality.Ē