“I prefer not to see the strength of my arm in the painting but only the poetry of my heart.”, Arshile Gorky, Russian Painter
I have a question for you. Do you, by any chance, know the word guessing game called ‘Charades’ ? I’ve always loved this game and as a teenager and then also during my university education, I used to play it a lot with my friends, during different parties and events. As far as I remember it was always so hilarious, to see my friends doing the strangest and most funny things just to make us finaly come up with the right answer. What would you say if we played this game right now for a while? I will give you some clues and you’ll try to gues whom do I have in mind.
A movie director. But also an actor, editor and composer. He is eccentric with characteristic white hair. He stays away from the Hollywood’s glamour and spotlight. He is not especially interested in actors with lip-fillers, perfecttly smooth botox foreheads or special effects that distract the watcher attention from the lack of depth. He is everything what Hollywood is not, and, on the other hand, Hollywood is everything what Jim Jarmusch is not. In 2003 he recorded ‘Coffee and Cigarettes’.
Yes, you were right. It’s Jim Jarmush. Well-done.
Scene from ‘Paterson’, movie by Jim Jarmush, Adam Driver, 2016
Watching Jarmushes movies means indulging in experience of creative brain stimulation, that is honest in the world of universal deceit. Why do I want you to pay attention to that particular movie director ? It is because of his production from 2016 called ‘Paterson’, that I’ve recently watched. What I’ve seen again confirmed something that I’ve mentioned in one of my previous posts. That is that the worlds artists regardless of the medium chosen and used by them ‘connect’ trough their art talking about’the same thing in the same way’, creating a unique, meaningful dialog beyond borders.
Recently, I have got to know a Canada based painter called Nicolas Martin, who, to me, seems to be’ The Jim Jarmusch of Visual Arts.’ Later in this article I’ll try to explain how did I come to that kind of conlsusion.
(c) Nicolas Martin, Two Lovers,Oil on Linen. 24 36 Inches. 2017. Cinemascope Serie
Nicolas Martin, despite of the fact that his paintings bring to mind famous impressionists from 19th century, is surprisingly ‘contemporary’ in his artistry. What I’ve learned from the article found in Fine Art Connoiseur agazine in article written by Vanessa Francoise Rothe in the section ‘Today’s Masters’, the painter is under big influence of Lucian Freud. This is what he explained during the interview for the magazine: ‘It’s not Freud’s style of painting, but his way of thinking. To appraciate him you must understand his obsession with authenticity of his subjects, then the brushstrokes he used to express it.I admire his obsession, devotion and work ethics.’
(c) Nicolas Martin, ‘La pause’, Oil on Linen. 24/36 Inches. 2016, ‘Cinemascope Serie’ Private Collection
Martin in his work, makes us pay attention not only to ‘ mysterious sitters’ – but also to interiors, that seem to play a major role in the ‘mood’ of the painting. His charmed by spaces that have their own personality, own ‘secret life’. Can you imagine a bath or an old sofa being a silent observer of the every day reality? When you look at Martin’s work you are impressed by the ‘authenticity’ of everything that he strives to explore in his art. You belive in the dark berdroom filled with the city lights that enter the light trough a window. You see beautiful woman that is somehow ‘ ‘tensed’ in a situation that is still ‘about to happen’. This is when the onlookers mind starts to visualise different scenarios. If she is waiting for somebody – what is going to happen next? Would it be a randez-vous with a man met at the bar last night? Or is she expecting a visit of her sick mother? Martin’s works are truly engaging and mesmerizing due to the fact that we can identify ourselves with all that we see and become ‘one’ with the painting, merge with it for a while. That is something that so many artists troughout many centuries of Art History strived to acheive but somehow never succeeded.
(c) Nicolas Martin, “Homme seul au Bar” Oil on Linen. 9/12 Inches. 2016, Private Collection
Scene from ‘Paterson’, William Jackson Harper and Chasten Harmon (2016)
It is worth mentioning that the third and most recent solo show of Nicolas Martin was titled ‘Cinemascope’, because it featured works influenced by the lightening and subjects he admires from the film history. I think now you will finally understand why did I have this deep need of introducing his art to you, linking it with the striking movie that is a timeless masterpiece and one-of-its-kind thing.
(c) Nicholas Martin, “Le Reflet”, Oil on Linen. 18/24 Inches,2017, Cinemascope Serie. Available at Vanessa Rothe Fine Art
Let’s focus for a while on the Jarmushes movie. Paterson (starred by the incredibly talented Adam Driver), the main character from the movie is a fellow of routine. For the most part he gets up at the same early hour every morning, summoned by what his wife Laura calls his “silent alarm watch,” a Casio of retro design. Paterson’s marriage is also a little retro but the couple seems to be perfectly happy with ‘a modest life’,away from ‘modern gadgets and devices’. Laura, played by Iranian actress Golshifteh Farahani is more or less a housewife. She bakes delicious cupcakes,is sweet as pie andkeen on decorating the couple’s small house with bold black and white patterns. But aside from muse functions, she has little to do with her husband’s daily routine, which, apart from driving a bus, is devoted to poetry.
Scene from ‘Paterson’, Adam Driver and Golshifteh Farahani, 2016
What makes Paterson ‘stand out’ from all hundreds and thousands of other ordinary bus or taxi drivers, shop assistants or car mechanics, is that he leads interesting conversations with strangers that go far beyond ‘how are you doing today’ and has a ritual of writing plain-spoken poems celebrating what the Surrealists called “the marvelous in the everyday.” These poems were actually written by Ron Padgett, a still-living poet with roots in the “New York School”.
Below you will find a short part of an incredible poem called ‘How To Be Perfect’ by the same author – if you find a longer while I strongly recommend you to read the entire poem here.
The Everyday Life. The celebrating of the beauty in the seemingly banal activities. This is what attracts both in the movie as well as in the art of Martin. The movie ends in a touching, and instructive way. “I breathe poetry” – this is what Paterson says as he meets a stranger at the end of the film, as they both sit and look at the falls.That is ultimately the most important thing: the conviction that if you can live at least part of your life ‘breathing poetry’ (and poetry could be anyting from a painting, piece of music or literature), you can make your life more worthwhile.
(c) Nicholas Martin, ‘Candy’ Oil on Linen. 26/36 Inches, 2013, Private Collection
(c)Nicolas Martin, ‘Night Walk’ Oil on Linen. 18/24 Inches, 2015, Private Collection
I have no doubt, there is poetry all around us. We just need to learn to see the beauty of little details with the same poetic eye as Jim Jarmush or Nicolas Martin.
P.S. Special thanks to Vanessa Francoise Rothe for her apt observations on the post and introducing me to N. Martin’s work as well as for making it possible to use part of her interivew she had with Nicolas. I strongly recommend Fine Art Connoiseur magazine to all art collectors who are interested in supereme quality insights and news on ‘high brow’ Art. The magazine is beautifully composed and very informative. More information about the magazine you could find using this link