C.J. Martin

C.J. Martin is a conceptual artist who lives and works in Indianapolis, IN.  His work deals with themes of Self and the Absurd based on concepts from existentialism and psychoanalytic theory. While conceptual, his work has mostly taken the form of medium to large scale abstraction over the last two years. Although his studio practice has lately been largely focused on painting, he also works with photography, collage and installation.  C.J.’s studio practice is diverse in media and form,

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About My Work:

My studio practice is an exploration of the concept of the Self.  In particular I am interested in questioning whether meaning and purpose are necessary to lead a fulfilling life.  My work deals with ideas from Existentialism and psychoanalytic theory, specifically Drive theory, which essentially states that fulfillment is found in the act of pursuing goals rather than in the attainment of those goals.  I am trying to create an approach to painting that mirrors the way that life is lived.  We experience life one day at a time and our lives exist as a succession of days. Likewise, my painting process involves a focus on each act in isolation, each painting exists as a sum of this succession of acts.  I perform a repetition of simple actions or mark making, each one intended to advance the picture not necessarily through improvement, but rather, simply through continuing the act of painting.  In this way each painting is a representation of this idea as well as a manifestation of the psychoanalytic idea of the Drive, a record of being present in the act of painting.  This is how I question the necessity of meaning and purpose, simply being present is fulfillment enough.  It is my hope that the sum of the succession of acts in my paintings adds up to something that is engaging and appealing, perhaps even beautiful, the same way that I hope that the sum of my days will add up to something that was worthwhile and valuable.

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BA, Christopher Newport University

MFA, Herron School of Art and Design


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