Cameron Martin, "Eclipse"

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 Asha

Asha Photograph: Courtesy Greeenberg Van Doren

Time Out Ratings

<strong>Rating: </strong>5/5

“Trust in nature,” Rainer Maria Rilke once counseled a fellow poet, “in the small things that hardly anyone sees and that can suddenly become huge, immeasurable; then everything will become more coherent and somehow more reconciling.” As if testing Rilke’s advice, Cameron Martin, in his two-gallery exhibition, “Eclipse,” seeks meaning in remote landscapes where no one would normally go for solace.

Uptown, eight paintings present views of inhospitable lands: craggy cliffs brutalized by wind, sun-bleached branches in barren expanses, and dark arctic seas frozen and fissured at the water’s surface. From a distance, these grisaille images could be mistaken for black-and-white photographs—outsize prints by Robert Adams, perhaps, lamenting the land’s degradation. Yet up close, the painter’s hand is apparent, as the images are broken up into numerous layers of varying gray, each stenciled cleanly onto canvas.

Downtown at Eleven Rivington, Arbital, a monochromatic triptych of three nearly identical rock formations, makes them look as if they might have been plucked from Gerhard Richter’s image encyclopedia Atlas. (Actually, all of Martin’s source images are digital composites he generates himself.) But like Richter, Martin imports more than a picture-perfect image onto canvas. By replicating harsh landscapes twice (once via digital imaging, the second time in paint), Martin observes his severe scenes from a distance that is truly soothing. Viewers gazing at his landscapes can conceive of the most abysmal hinterlands, yet experience only beauty.

—Emily Weiner

Greenberg Van Doren, through Jan 5
Eleven Rivington, through Jan 5

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