For the last couple of months I've been working on a 1200ft long mural in Hayward, CA. That's right, twelve hundred long!
The soundwall separates an area of housing from the very busy traffic of W Winton Avenue just west of the 880 freeway. The location is mostly seen by passing motorists and I expect that most will just catch glimpses of fragments of the mural as they pass by. With this in mind, the piece is a playful series of images and scenes that don't have any set narrative, but invite the viewer to imagine their own - like a children's story book, but with the text missing! I started off by thinking about the gardens that are behind the wall and what might be happening in them and let my imagination run from there. The result is a parade of botanical images, fanciful geometric city-scapes, rivers, thoughtful or energetic figures, origami objects, abstract patterns, and giant dogs.
This was one of those public art projects where a huge part of the experience was the daily interaction with the community. Thousands of cars pass the mural every day, and many, many motorists shouted their positive reactions and encouragement as they saw the mural taking shape. Also local residents, especially around the Stonewall Ave corner stopped or came out to say how much they enjoyed and appreciated the work. The comments were truly appreciated and I loved the conversations - they're what doing these public projects are all about. I was touched by, and am immensely grateful for my work being accepted and embraced by the community, and thank the staff at The City Of Hayward who made the project happen.
I don't yet have the definitive final set of photographs yet, but here are some shots of the piece taking shape.
BRIDGE Housing's new affordable housing building Mural had it's grand opening March 21st. The reclaimed wood mural I made for the lobby was the backdrop for the celebrations, and it was a pleasure to meet so many of the people who worked on the building, and some of the new residents. Big thanks to all at BRIDGE, Jeff Breidenbach at Argus, Lee Tollefsrud for installation help, and John Yoyogi Fortes (Digital Boondocks) for shooting this video.
A 20 x 20 ft mural using reclaimed wood for the lobby of a new housing building, also named Mural, at McArthur Station, Oakland. Some of the wood comes from Oakland homes, you can see street names in among the foliage etc.
From an interview on The Studio Work, "Robert Stevenson at Bridge Housing talked a lot about their mission being about rebuilding and “re-knitting” a neighborhood that had been fractured by catastrophic development decisions, and by successive waves of social change. Also Jeff gave me a lot of historical background regarding the origins of the area and the transitions it has gone through. I spent time walking around, exploring further for myself, and photographing sights that I felt indicative of all these thoughts. I latched onto the images of all the mature trees that line the residential streets around Mosswood Park, and thought about how they’d witnessed and endured all the changes we’d been talking about. I saw them as being emblematic of both resilience and new growth, and so trees and foliage became the main image of the piece. I like the idea of creating this wild forest-garden feel in among the clean architectural lines of the urban apartment building". Read the full interview here.
More images here.
I'm thrilled to announce that I am now represented by SFMOMA Artists Gallery in San Francisco. As an offshoot of SFMOMA, the Artists Gallery represents the work of contemporary artists from the Bay Area and has sales and rental programs for commercial and private collectors. Currently, they have twelve of my 2015 paintings including this one, One Time At Sundown, 48 x 36.
I'm generally a low-tech art kind of guy but was really intrigued by some of David Hockney's iPad paintings that were in his show at the DeYoung Museum in San Francisco. As a result, I recently installed the Brushes app myself and started experimenting. I really like the paint-like and printmaking-like quality you can achieve and here are a couple of the images that have emerged so far. I've set up a new webpage for digital work here and prints of these are available through Saatchi Art.
I just installed this 20 x 20 ft mural using reclaimed wood in the lobby of a new housing building at McArthur Station, Oakland, built by the affordable housing non-profit Bridge Housing. I originally worked on the design in 2014, and rented a studio space at Moxy in Jingletown, Oakland to actually make the piece in January and February 2015. Meanwhile, construction of the building went on and I stored the finished wood boards in the parking garage of the building until they were ready for installation the first week of November 2015. I had help on the installation from ace carpenter Lee Tollefsrud.
Some of the wood comes from Oakland homes, you can see street names in among the foliage etc. I made the pieces in a studio space Jan and Feb 2015, and installed it the first week of Nov. The space is still unfinished but should be open and accessible soon.
See more images and process photos here.
There's also a great photo piece and interview by Elise Morris here at The Studio Work.
More new painting and sculpture by Martin Webb
August 15th to September 30th, 2015.
Native Planting, 36 x 48, mixed media on panel.
Addison Street Windows is a City Of Berkeley exhibition, literally a long display window, that has been showcasing the work of local artists since 1998. The windows are at 2018 Addison Street, opposite the Berkeley Rep Theater, and adjacent to The Freight and Salvage.
My work there is a natural evolution of the work in the Many Streams show and has four small paintings from that show, plus four new small paintings, and five new 36 x 48 pieces. Also, Many Streams installation of wood and concrete buildings is reprized, reconfigured and extended. You can see the paintings in detail on my "Work 2015" page.
I love to show my work in traditional galleries, but there's also something special about being able to offer it to a different audience in a public setting. I've seen art in The Windows for years and am grateful to curator Demitri Broxton for the opportunity to show here.
Images of the individual pieces are here.
My talk at the closing of the Many Streams show at The Compound Gallery. Thanks to Matt Reynoso for posing insightful questions and Lena for recording and sharing the video. Apologies for an audio glitch lasting a couple of minutes that happens midway!
The show had a nice "Staff Pick" write-up from Sarah Burke in The East Bay Express 6/25/15. Click the image below to read it.
Next up - closing "tea" 3-6pm Sunday July 12th, with an artist's talk and Q and A at 4pm. Hope you can make it!
And here's a quick spin around the show.
New work by Martin Webb at The Compound Gallery
Sadly, due to unfortunate and unforeseeable circumstances, Barbara Holmes is no longer able to do the upcoming two person show with me at The Compound Gallery. The show will now be a solo show consisting of a much larger selection of my recent work. I’m really excited about this new group of paintings and accompanying installation piece. I let the paintings themselves take the lead and they went to some new places that were quite a surprise to me, and may be to you too.
Opening reception June 6th, 6-9pm
Closing reception and artist talk, July 12, 3-6pm (talk at 4)
1145 65th st. Oakland, CA 94608
Gallery Hours: Wed-Sun 12-7pm
Join the facebook event here
“We live in a time not of mainstream but of many streams, or even, if you insist upon a river of time, then we have come to delta, maybe even beyond delta to an ocean which is going back to the skies.”
John Cage, KPFA Radio, 1992
“Since I am often a figurative painter, this group of work might be defined by its conspicuous absence of people. Last year, I’d started taking photographs late at night in my neighborhood and became intrigued by the way that familiar scenes are transformed by darkness and stark artificial light. I noticed how the urban landscape makes sense when human activity is present, but takes on other qualities when the people are absent. This led to some initial paintings experimenting with these images, but they lacked a solid direction until a recent trip through the Eastern Sierras where I went out of my way to seek out the old abandoned gold-mining towns and settlers’ cabins. Again, the absence of people struck me. The cabins remain as a record of people having been there and passed onward. The natural landscape has shown the people their folly, thrown them out, and is now reclaiming the flimsy buildings back into its self. I’m always fascinated by people’s relationship with the land and time, and in particular the way that things we regard as solid and permanent are actually temporary, in flux, and part of a continuum much larger than ourselves.”
I'm really looking forward to this show - I've been a fan of Barbara's work for some time, and I think we're both coming up with work that's surprising us with it's new directions. I'm posting a few in-progress images below as tasters, but please come to the show to see where it all ends up. FB event page here.
“We live in a time not of mainstream
but of many streams, or even,
if you insist upon a river of time,
Then we have come to delta,
maybe even beyond delta to an ocean
which is going back to the skies.”
KPFA Radio, 1992
Barbara Holmes and Martin Webb are both gatherers and gleaners who collect images, materials, and thoughts, as they wander near and far from home. In her West Oakland neighborhood and nearby Shoreline Park, Holmes monitors and collects discarded objects, and watches the slow transformation of a landscape in rehabilitation while being tucked within one of the nations largest ports. Martin Webb captures images on night walks in his neighborhood and on road trips, looking for the common and the contrasting vernacular of both wild and urban landscapes.
Whether on foot or on the road, Holmes and Webb seek out new ways of seeing their everyday/familiar environments and absorbing new or novel places. In their studios, both artists work with this garnered source material in an open-ended, intuitive way to produce paintings, prints, and objects that are simple in form yet speak to complex relationships of materials and decay, culture and nature.
Many Streams: Barbara Holmes and Martin Webb (June 6th-July 12th, 2015)
Opening Reception: Saturday, June 6th 6-9pm
Artist Talk and Closing Tea with Barbara and Martin:
Sunday, July 12th 3-6pm (talk starts at 4pm)