Ronald Albert Martin

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Ronald Albert Martin

1943 -

Ronald Albert Martin was born in 1943 in London, Ontario. He studied commercial art at H.B. Beal Secondary School from 1960 to 1964. In 1964 he began working in a shared studio with artist Murray Favro. Martin’s first solo exhibition was at Pollock Gallery in Toronto in 1965, and he was later represented by Carmen Lamanna Gallery, where he exhibited until 1991. Martin is currently represented by Christopher Cutts Gallery.

Martin often worked in series, such as his well-known Black and White Paintings. His abstract works were concerned with the materiality of paint – its physical mass on the surface and the impact of its colour, as well as his manipulation of the medium and the effects of gravity on its movement before drying. He experimented with larger gestural brush-strokes, and in his Black series, used his hands to move and shape the paint. Inspired by artists such as Jackson Pollock, Martin also experimented with his working methods by occasionally laying the canvas on the floor of his studio rather than on the wall. He sometimes used conceptual methods of creating his works – such as in his One-Colour Paintings, in which each canvas was a standard size, the paint a standard quantity and only one colour, and a fixed time was set for the execution of the work.

Martin stated, “I’d like to feel I could make a painting that is primarily about the experience of the experiencer.” He wanted the viewer to use his paintings as a screen on which they could project their conscious or unconscious fears or desires, and through that process, their perception could become a personal creative act.In 1978, Martin’s Black Paintings represented Canada at the Venice Biennale (along with Henry Saxe’s sculptures). In the same year he had exhibitions in Cologne and Montreal. National recognition grew for Martin through many exhibitions across Canada, and he was awarded a Governor General’s Award for Visual and Media Arts in 2012. The artist currently lives and works in Toronto, Ontario.