December 4, 2021 - January 15, 2022
B. Deemer Gallery/WheelHouse Art and Martin Rollins are pleased to present the artist's latest body of work, Here to There. This exhibition opens Saturday, December 4, 2021 and continues through January 15, 2022.
Martin Rollins is known primarily for his oil pastels, but he also works with gouache, ink, and acrylic paint to create urban and rural scenes based on landscapes found in and around Louisville, Kentucky. The oil pastels are a somewhat temperamental medium, and Rollins’ work is noted for its expressive handling of the material and the artist’s mark-making. Regardless of what media he uses from one piece to another, Rollins consistently employs richly saturated color and a wide range of surface quality on his images of domestic architecture, parks, and open vistas of streets and roads.
"Living in the town where I grew up, I am aware of how much Louisville is changing, but also of its inherent physical and atmospheric qualities...Those effects of light and shadow constantly enliven the look and feel of both the architecture and the natural areas."
Rollins is a native of Louisville. He received his BFA from the Louisville School of Art in 1981, and his MFA from the University of Cincinnati in 1987, with a focus on painting, drawing and fiber media. Rollins has had a long and distinguished career as an educator having worked with various education programs and nonprofits such as Asia Institute-Crane House, Jefferson County Public Schools, Kentucky Arts Council, the Kentucky Center for the Performing Arts, Kentucky Governor’s School for the Arts, Kentucky Institute for the Arts in Education, the Speed Art Museum, and Walden School in Louisville. His work has influenced countless artists in Louisville over the years.
A year or two back home, after I left graduate school and began sorting things out, I came to artistic terms with myself as an easel painter. Working with traditional subject matter in both my studio and in the plein-air manner, somewhere along the line I was labeled a "realist painter’.
This never sat well with me, as I feel my artistic process is more like a writer than an artist who looks to only recreate what I can see around me.
I have always had as my intent to be an observer who gleans and attempts to express my experiences of life through visual terms. From those sources, I edit and attempt to craft something new. In the way a writer uses language to create a novel from their own experiences and observations, I bring together the visual elements of art to create a visual narrative of mine. So, while the artwork may have the appearance of "real life" - the works contain conceits, ironies, and personal musings separate from the details of the visible world.
The title of this exhibit Here to There references the internal journey of my artistic process from bringing what is percolating within in me creatively to what is realized on the surface of these respective artworks. Yes, I am most certainly inspired by light, color, or mood of something I observe in the world – but initial impressions are at the very least married, if not eclipsed, by what they evoke in me or what happens when the artwork is underway.
Although the assembled works in this exhibition are distinctly varied, they are connected through a certain point-of-view in each work – so in looking from one place to another set-place there is also a visual dynamic of “from here to there”.
In creating these works it was not as important to me to have them stylistically aligned as it was to have each work reflect what moved me to create each image. The purposely selected color motifs, and the painting and drawing techniques I employed, - all proceed from what I was after in the different works. It is in the space between what inspires me and the final developed image where I find the story I wish to portray.