Ending this week, on November 29, this exhibition is one you will want to fit in this holiday week. Ned Martin's "Spirits Through Time" is a truly breathtaking series of portraits that not only mend both humans and nature together, but use traditional and contemporary methods which make for special, one-of-a-kind works. On view at Robert Berry Gallery, the pieces are as outstanding as the stories behind them.
Belles&Rebelles: I see you are based in Brooklyn. While reading that you were raised in PA
and MD, how has living in Brooklyn shaped you and your art in any certain
way? How long have you been based in New York?
Ned Martin: In the suburbs you are judged by how green your lawn is, and by how
much your riding lawn mower costs. Before moving to New York, I was
heavily influenced by the likes of Andrew Wyeth’s rustic nature, and
focused on the realism of textures of a fence posts or a rusty chain. The
creative sources were always external.
Now after living in New York City for 14 years, I have total freedom to be,
say, and do what I wish. My creative source has switched to internal.
Memories, experiences, and my relationship to the city environment has
become my focus.
B&R: What is the New York experience to you and how has that altered (IF it has
NM: My art has remained my central focus. Staying focused on the work, and
creating new ideas and work, is more important than ever.
Normally, I’m very social by nature and enjoyed seeing friends for dinner
and drinks. Today, Zoom is the new normal, and my hair has been longer
than it has been in years.
It has been more conducive to work as an artist. Distractions can be
eliminated and focus can be put completely into work now that my home is
B&R: Has living in a pandemic changed your work at all?
It’s changed my work and my life. At the beginning of the pandemic, I got
stuck in Bolivia for over 6 months with my girlfriend. The quarantine there
was very strict with military soldiers on the corners and ID checks to see if
you were supposed to be outside. I could only leave the apartment for 4
hours, 1 day per week.
With my girlfriend working all day, I was alone in an empty apartment, and
it became an internal search for meaning—which for me resulted in
connecting with the death of my mother and sister—and creating this series
of paintings dedicated to women as well as landscapes.
NM: Are the women in your works portraits of actual people? If so, who? If not,
whom do these women represent?
Yes! They are faces of real women who lived in the 1800s. I wanted to
bring them back and make them relevant today, and in the future, not just
forgotten because they are not here anymore.
B&R: What do you see in the future for art and artists?
As this exhibit is entitled "Spirits Through Time," can you please elaborate on the meaning of this and if/how it will be different
in a century from now?
NM: The future of art is bright! The art world is in a quagmire of its own starting
with the artists like Caravaggio and Manet. They shocked the art world’s
aesthetics. Through time the notion of shock as an artistic element was
replaced with movements like DADA where shock was the art.
My hope for Spirits Through Time is that people can truly connect and feel
I see an era of enlightenment on the horizon when people begin trying to
do something. This is a more arduous path. It takes a skill set, a creative
source inspired by imagination far removed from the constant
bombardment of information of this day. Most importantly, the new
movement will come about by a few artists with foresight,
wisdom—regardless of age—and a good measure of pure guts.
To learn more, see more and to visit this exhibition, click here.
Big Thanks to Deborah of Geiger Communications for making this possible!