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Improvisations in Time: Eugene J. Martin and the Masur Museum of Art

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Published on Aug 16, 2012

http://www.masurmuseum.org. The Masur Museum of Art in Monroe, Louisiana, celebrates the recent acquisition of twenty-four works of art from the estate of the artist Eugene J. Martin (1938-2005) with a solo exhibit entitled "Improvisations in Time: Eugene J. Martin and the Masur Museum of Art", August 4-Ocrober 20, 2012.. The exhibit showcases 68 graphite and pen & ink drawings, mixed media works and collages, paintings on paper and canvas, and photographs on loan from the Louisiana State University Museum of Art, Baton Rouge LA, and the Estate of Eugene J. Martin. All works were created in Washington D.C., Chapel N.C. and Lafayette LA between 1960's and 2003. The exhibit takes over the Museum's three floors.

Martin studied painting at the Corcoran School of Art and Design in Washington D.C. His often humorous and highly abstract paintings, collages, drawings, and photographs primarily deal with the concepts of time and memory. He has exhibited at the Ohr-O'Keefe Museum of Art, MS; Louisiana State University Museum of Art, LA; Walter Anderson Museum of Art, MS; New Orleans African American Museum, LA; Lilly Gallery, Duke University; Michel Rooryck Gallery, Ghent, and Oudenaarde Town Hall, Belgium; and the Acadiana Center for the Arts, Lafayette LA, among others. Martin's art also resides in the permanent collections of the Munich Museum of Modern Art, Munich, Germany; Ogden Museum of Southern Art, LA; University of Delaware Museums, DE; Schomburg Center for Black Culture, NY; Sheldon Museum of Art, NE; Stowitts Museum, CA; Walter O. Evans Collection of African American Art, Savannah GA; Mobile Museum of Art, AL, among others.

Curator Benjam Hickey writes in the Exhibition's catalogue that "On the surface, Eugene J. Martin's work appears to be an after-the-fact riff on modernism driven abstraction. His work is related to this tradition, but is something more. Martin was an accomplished Jazz musician and incorporated his experience of rhythmic improvisation also associated with High Modernism or Abstract Expressionism as a means of illustrating the irregular, non-linear, but cyclical manner humans perceive, understand, and experience the world around them. He used biomorphic and quasi-mechanical abstractions to create this link with the physical perceived world, but warped them to reference the slipstream nature of consciousness as well. The improvisational language Martin ascribed to any moment or period of time plays back into how he considered his oeuvre. He conceived of it as fluid and let it be guided directly by variables such as access to art making materials dictated by his financial means, a passing interest in any given media or subject matter, and his mood. He would also muddle the chronology of his work by creating new work to add on to old pieces, dismantle a completed artwork and incorporate it into several works, or do the same with photographs of his art. This totally integrated art practice is what makes Martin stand apart from other artists; his improvisations were rigorous and permeated his entire decision making process."

Many thanks to Benjamin Hickey, Masur Museum of Art Curator, and Director Evelyn Stewart for the exhibit's conception and curation; the MMA Board and Sponsors for financial support; and Marie Vinouze, Eugene Martin scholar.

"Weary Blues", Music by Arthur "Artie' Matthews. Duke Ellington (piano), Johnny Hodges (alto saxophone), Harry 'Sweets' Edison (trumpet), Les Spann (guitar), Sam Jones (bass), Jo Jones (drums). Recorded February 20, 1959, New York City. Norman Granz, Producer. Back to Back - Duke Ellington and Johnny Hodges Play the Blues. http://www.amazon.com/Play-Blues-Back....

Filming and editing by Suzanne Fredericq, Lafayette LA, 7 August 2012. http://eugenemartinart.com

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    • Duke Ellington, Johnny Hodges
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