Notes from the “Workshop Journal”
ENRIQUE CASTAÑOS ALÉS
The two most salient features of the painting of Robert Martin (Granada, 1951) are detailed technical implementation and themes drawn from mainly decorative patterns of Islamic civilization. The first aspect is surprising for its diligence, rigor and knowledge in the use of materials and their archaeological footprint, as if it were a relic of the past. The particular combination of sand, marble dust, tiles and pigments, amalgamated in a solid and cohesive, gives these compositions a unique strength, but also makes objects appear to be made from a strange alchemy. The water stains, peeling of the walls, the appearance of painting in encaustic, overlapping shapes, as if several cultures during the course of the centuries had left their mark on the same piece of wall, and this gives these tables and extremely heavy materia they look away from the dizziness and the haste with which today carries out its work the man in the contemporary city.
Second are the issues that are primarily decorative in nature, both from classical Islamic civilization from Baghdad and Damascus to Granada, as the Byzantine Empire, although in this case Robert Martin has not been set both in the figures of the As mosaic murals in some of the early centuries of the great center of culture that was the Eastern Roman Empire. When we look at how he uses interlocking tiles and baseboards of the rooms and courtyards of the Alhambra in Granada, especially those that adorn the Hall of Ambassadors, the Court of the Myrtles, the Mirador de Daraxa and Mexuar, we realize how respected the painter key geometric principles involved in Moorish decoration: symmetry, linear growth or rotation for two or more axes. They are principles that have their special set of abstract properties, with its huge but finite number of mathematical possibilities for each of them. Also many other reasons such as fountains, palm trees, domes, doors, windows and shutters.
As for the paintings with figures straight out of the ruins of the diaconate of S. Maria Antiqua in Rome, fresh from the sixth and seventh centuries to schematize and modify procedures and such other forms of contemporary works that followed the classical tradition. So are the faces and heads emerging from the calcareous funds paintings of Robert Martin as if they were fragments of paintings the apses of the convents of Saqqarah Bauit and in Antinoe, in the Thebaid, in the southern part of Ancient Egypt. Theophanic are visions, apparitions of the divine in the context of sacred worship. Thus Robert Martin is, as if to recover ancient stories and ancient cults of man, as if anhelase merge with the traces of time.
©Enrique Castaños Alés