‘From the Ground Up’ art display by Gil Martin opening in Carson City
An artist who makes his own paint from natural pigments found in the West is showing work at Capital City Arts Initiative’s Courthouse gallery.
“From the Ground Up” by Gil Martin opens Feb. 3 and runs through May 24. A reception will be from 5 to 7 p.m. on opening day; Martin will give a talk about his work at 5:30 p.m.
Martin, who also teaches at Western Nevada College in Fallon, said when he was first studying painting, an artist friend gave him a box of art materials and assorted tools she no longer needed. In that box was a book on how to make paint from earth pigments. It sat around his studio for years until one day he picked it up and started reading. His interest piqued, he started driving around looking for colored dirt from road cuts.
Now he uses a starch paste made from cornmeal as a binder before adding water to create a viscous paint.
The artist said his Western landscapes mainly come about by working horizontal bands of color against one another until the painting unifies.
“I like to work my pieces outside, both on the ground and tacked to a wall,” he said. “The paint pools up in the small depressions and flows over uneven surfaces of canvas and paper laid on the ground or drips down in furrows on the pinned pieces. There is always an element of chance to the painting process. The material speaks and I then react to the needs of the painting.”
During his exhibition, Martin will give a talk about his work to art students at Dayton High School and Carson High School.
Chérie Louise Turner, a Bay-Area-based writer, art critic and copy editor, wrote the essay, “Plain Ole Dirt?” for the exhibition.
The Courthouse gallery is open from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. weekdays at 885 E. Musser St. Admission to the gallery and reception are free.
Additionally, CCAI has a companion exhibition of Martin’s smaller works in the Sierra Room of the Carson City Community Center, 851 E. William St. This show will be open March 1-July 6 during all public meetings and from noon to 4 p.m. Fridays.
For information, go to CCAI’s website at http://www.arts-initiative.org. To see examples of Martin’s art, go to gilmartinpaintings.com.