John Martin, Untitled (Red Leatherman), 2012, Acrylic on wood, 10 x 19 x 1 inches
September 5 – October 5, 2013
Institute 193, Lexington
A Mississippi native, John Martin lives in Oakland, California, where he works with the Creative Growth Art Center, an organization that serves adult artists with developmental, mental, and physical disabilities.
Multi-tools is presented in collaboration with the Creative Growth Art Center. It is one of two exhibitions of Creative Growth artists on view in Kentucky in 2013: the exhibition Creative Growth: Dan Miller & Judith Scott (curated by Matthew Higgs) will be on display at the Kentucky Museum of Art and Craft in Louisville, KY from September 7 to November 3.
Martin assembles his sculptures from wood scraps that he covers in thick layers of bright paint. These sculptures depict men, animals, and automobiles configured into folding shapes that often resemble Swiss Army knives: a wolf crouches inside a lighter, a knife with many appendages squats like a small dinosaur, a garish pink flamingo rises out of the head of a man wearing sunglasses. Martin’s unusual juxtapositions imbue prosaic imagery gleaned from pop culture—fast food advertising, the Transformers film franchise—with whimsy and unexpected humor.