New York: a river of art

What kind of impression does a day spent wandering midtown and Chelsea galleries, in search of painting, leave on this European visitor to New York? The rows of slick white cubes and cavernous warehouses quickly become interchangeable, as if the rapid procession of art were passing through some uniform virtual space, like so many 3D websites. The names on the walls seem mostly to represent larger concerns, suggesting developments in China or Latin America perhaps, or (if less established) in the nearby studios of Brooklyn.

In this fast flowing river of art there is little to hold onto. Objects and images come and go, sometimes loud and monumental but mostly devoid of time and context. The feverish present leaves little in its wake. Perhaps this is why paradoxically I was finally slowed down by Cameron Martin’s meticulous paintings, flat and monochromatic surfaces through which barely perceptible forms, of rocks, trees and hillsides, quietly emerge. From the seventh floor of a midtown block, one senses the ghostly presence of Walden Pond, and the recurrence of a half remembered world, one held briefly in the pale tracery of the painter’s brushwork before fading to white in the empty margins of his pictures. Hovering between appearance and disappearance, they outlast the moment - while much of the rest simply passes on by.

 

Cameron Martin "Bracket" - until 23 April 2011

Greenburg van Doren Gallery, New York