Alexander Koch reviews the exhibition Chris Martin: Cool Drink on a Hot Day at Kow, Berlin, on view through July 27, 2014.
Koch writes that Martin "makes art’s transcendental and animist ambitions profane. The presence of landscape, good music and good sex, a starry night and a person’s death, colors and shapes on a surface – all of these are aspects of this painting, and experiences of boundlessness, that we can’t put a finger on and that are yet as tangible as our breakfast every morning: the casual sublime. Chris Martin strips a classic category of Western aesthetics, the sublime, of all idealization, pathos, and exclusivity. Martin’s work emerges from an awareness of the evanescence of all definite form, the vanity of material existence, and man’s profound connectedness to others, to nature, and to that which binds and transcends both. The universe? Martin puts what we are and think, what we see and do into an overriding structural form. His holistic, integrating perspective does not hew to the physically real; it is also free from assumptions, and jettisons every belief system. Nothing is sacred. It conducts a dialogue with the material and sees its intellectual and emotional transformation from one moment to the next."