Ron Martin hails from London, Ontario, and found his artistic voice under the guiding influence of compatriot Greg Curnoe. Despite those proclaiming that painting had died in the late 1960s, Martin established himself as one of the most exciting artists to emerge out of the following decade. He diverged from the Toronto abstract painting scene by recognizing the authoritarian role of the artist over the viewer, and redirecting artist agency by creating “painting that is primarily about the experience of the experiencer.” His conceptual and process-driven derivation of abstraction arguably deserves a place within the international history of abstract art.
Martin said of his work, “The material takes on its own character apart from anything I might have done. It alters, it changes … through the drying process as through the doing process,” concluding that, “painting is reality in itself instead of just a vehicle to imitate reality.” Martin’s material-based paintings of the late 1980s are some of his most densely encrusted procedural works, and A Reductive Aid exemplifies the core tenets of Martin’s practice in its craggy edges, rolling drips, and melding forms that almost appear to still be shifting in front of the viewer’s eyes.