During a career that has spanned over forty years, Ron Martin has worked in abstraction with persistence, conviction, and eloquence. As the artist states, “At the structural level, a programmatic approach to the making of a group or series of paintings is a way of investigating the resonance of an idea through the convention of a serial format.” A painter most fond of rigour, Martin tends to work both serially and randomly—for example, his series of Black Paintings, which represented Canada at the Venice Biennale in 1978—often using an arbitrary, particular constraint (a limited quantity of paint, perhaps, or a fixed period of execution) as a vector along which to develop his concept. From one body of work to the next, the artist adjusts his angle of approach—monochromatic, geometric, pictorial—while always focusing on the materiality of the painting. Martin paints with his bare hands, with brushes, on the floor, by pouring or scraping, by accumulation, or by direct application. Each method results in a decidedly gestural piece.
In 2012, Ron Martin was awarded the Governor General’s Award in Visual and Media Arts. His paintings have been shown around the world and in the nation’s most important museums.