Hales is delighted to announce O happiness! pleasure!, Martyn Cross‘s debut solo exhibit with the gallery. The exhibition capabilities new paintings that muse on Gustav Flaubert’s seminal book The Temptation of St Anthony.
Cross is mostly a painter engaged with ‘world making.’ The act of portray for him is a suggests to explore the inner existence and strangeness of the everyday. Every operate starts in actuality, with recognizable limbs and features of landscape, which transform into uncanny scenes. Biomorphic landscapes communicate to mythologies, but in Cross’s paintings the narratives are knowingly ambiguous. Acquainted and mysterious, tranquil and epic, scale and irregularity in proportion puzzles the viewer.
Known for paintings which are deliberately tricky to spot in history, there is a timelessness to Cross’s is effective, reminiscent of unearthed artifacts. Paintings are made in contemplative levels the pigments remain lively – his software and beautiful use of colour makes will work that hum. Sanding and scratching the floor, Cross strives to make paintings that have lived a daily life, the trace of their existence evident. Monumental hangings communicate to a heroic narrative of bigger powers, offered together with compact paintings which are jewel-like and personal.
Cross has prolonged been fascinated by depictions of the Temptation of St Anthony all over artwork heritage, notably Hieronymus Bosch’s The Temptation of St Anthony* which is just one of the additional subdued iterations. Observing how formulaic the greater part of depictions are, Cross notes a reoccurrence of ‘a wild looking Tony’ battling with demons in actual physical types. Obtaining examine Flaubert’s Temptation of St Anthony this 12 months, Cross was struck how easily the surrealist imagery was conjured from the webpages. Reading the closing paragraph of Flaubert’s novel Cross has likened to getting his ‘holy grail’ – the terms flawlessly aligning with his apply and fostered a desire to make additional get the job done:
‘O pleasure! joy! I have noticed the beginning of existence, I have noticed the commencing of motion. The blood in my veins is beating so hard that it will burst them. I experience like traveling, swimming, yelping, bellowing, howling. I would like to have wings, a carapace, a rind, to breathe out smoke, wave my trunk, twist my system, divide myself up, to be within each and every-issue, to drift absent with odours, establish as crops do, circulation like water, vibrate like audio, gleam like light, to curl myself up into each and every condition, to penetrate every atom, to get down to the depth of subject – to be make any difference!’
For several a long time, prior to reading through this affirming paragraph, Cross experienced been developing motifs that imbue the psychological and the otherworldly into landscapes. The works in the exhibition take The Temptation of St Anthony as a beginning position – there are no actual physical manifestations of demons but alternatively explorations of suggestions that align with Flaubert’s spirit and particular fascination in make a difference woven into the story. The title of the exhibition, O happiness! contentment! directly offers Flaubert, offering a wry commentary of a sought-right after emotion, counterbalancing the darker, extra introspective themes of the paintings. Cross states, ‘I imagine about these past pair of years, specifically with lockdown, we’ve all turn into a little bit Anthony…Locked in ourselves with our demons…’ Billowing clouds, swirling waves, tumbling waterfalls, arching bodies, all-observing eyes, oversized pointing fingers and blistering suns sort visions of inward reflection.