The pastel practice of Australian maker Julian Martin reveals a rare ability to distil the world into a balance of colour, shape and tone. Martin has refined his idiosyncratic style over the past 30 years, working from the renowned studio and exhibition programs for artists with disabilities, Arts Projects Australia.
Early experiments with painting soon yielded to Martin’s trademark medium of pastel and an intense exploration of the space between representation and abstraction. The artist’s own reflection, photographs and quotidian object are continuously reinterpreted and sublimated into essential forms, floating on intensely coloured grounds, ever reoccurring yet always changing.
Showing an uncanny ability to find the universal in the commonplace, Martin’s oeuvre is witness to a steady and unrelenting trajectory towards total abstraction. Yet, the uncompromising two-dimensionality of the pure form finds its presence in the physical realm, the densely pigmented sheets of colour gently scarred with etching implements, bearing the sign of the artists intense engagement with the medium for hours at a time.