Birch Contemporary

Martin Golland: Arcadia

Known predominantly for his oil paintings on canvas of improvised architectural structures, Golland has always used these imagined sites as a playground for the fractured phenomenon of perception.  His paintings present the blur of imagined and perceived realness in order to question the integrity of representation and the instability of memory and place.  The physical properties of paint itself – its materiality -warp the subject matter they describe. Built from a range of pictorial conventions his intention is to salvage past painting traditions and fashion them into a re-visioned present that offers up enticing disjunctive scenes. His imagery is reconfigured to explore a metaphoric state that oscillates between demolition and construction.  This exhibition was envisioned as a series of works of oil and acrylic polymer on paper (Mylar).  This material shift has played an interesting role in relation to Golland’s imagery. Suddenly there is less capacity to build up the paint.  The semi-opaque nature and plasticity of Mylar offers a slipperiness that further accentuates the blurriness and abstract quality of the transitional zones in the works.  There is an inherent transparent quality to found-imagery that gets sutured together that enhances the sense of entropy and the lack of foothold present in these imagined spaces.  The theme for this new work is centered on the idea of a catchall garden. Overgrowth, rocks, grasses and trees push through old cement, semi-walled-in enclosures and unearthed foundation platforms. Born in Montpellier France to Nomadic hippies, Martin’s childhood ‘home’ was in a constant state of being packed and un-packed, built up and taken down.  Throughout his childhood he lived in Greece, Istanbul, Toronto, Miami, Puerto Rico and back to Istanbul again before his family finally settled during his teenage years in Ottawa.  As a young adult Martin has lived in Montreal, Victoria, Toronto, Guelph and back to Ottawa again. This frenetic collection of locations emphasize that every site and structure in Martin’s work is a response against the notion that a landscape is about a specific place. Rather, he sees the fictitious locales in his work as “an abandoned plot that exists everywhere”.  He draws upon his own composite landscape, “an “inscape” that we all carry within us, influenced by our particular trajectories across borders, climates, and oceans; a place that exists only in the mind, beyond time and space”. All of Martin’s 2D work starts with a collage created from both personal and found-imagery that gets sutured together with tape and glue as well as digitally in Photoshop.  These collages are employed as the source material for his paintings. “My goal is to make visible an environment of embedded growth and entropy, an entwining, tight like braids, of natural and constructed elements that would not otherwise stand up by themselves. Damp and dry, smooth and rough, the paintings are built up of gestures of drips, scrapes, frottage and stains that transform my subjects to reveal the events of presence and of absence.  The intent in the final result of each painting is to present the blur of imagined and perceived realness, a state of perceiving that falls between strangeness and reverie.”