AboutMartin Greenland, the first prize winner of John Moores 24 in 2006, is a landscape painter whose images of a lyrical pastoral coexist with an underlying darker side. In this, his second solo exhibition at Art Space Gallery, there is snow-capped peaks, ice-cold cataracts, dense forests, deserted valleys and an unerring eye for a heightened reality that suggests a retreat from the modern world into a private sanctuary of childhood memories and associations of an industrial age in decline.
Born (1962) and brought up in Yorkshire and now living and working in the Lake District this is far from escapist art. Indeed, a recurrent theme in the work is the sometimes ambivalent interaction between the urban environment and the countryside. And although the paintings draw on actual places he has visited they are in fact creations of the imagination and memory; an assemblage of remembered topographical detail interwoven with traces of an ominous human presence.
Throughout, this mood of mystery and strangeness is conjured up by the dramatic contrasts between the bleak collections of decaying buildings in an idyllic setting or the detritus at the base of a ravine or the total absence of people despite the huts, street lamps, fires and washing lines in the dense massing of trees. Underpinned by a symbolic use of light that is firmly in the Northern European Romantic tradition they are paintings that the British dramatist Willy Russell has described as being â¦.a striking fusion of arresting myth and exquisite landscape.
A catalogue with full colour illustrations is available which can also be viewed on-line at: