MERKABA - By Christopher Martin
For 26 years, Christopher Martin’s work has continued to evolve as the artist explores new expressions of himself with different bodies of works. Twenty-six years of creating stunning paintings, each unique, each eye-catching, and each a colorful expression. A viewer can easily get lost in deciphering Martin’s front-to-back approach to painting as they attempt to discern which layer he worked first, then second, and so on. In an attempt to locate the starting point, one could spend hours trying to trace the graceful arcs and waving lines over the length of the expansive panels, which span entire walls in many cases.
Then in 2020, when preparations to celebrate Christopher Maritn’s 25th career anniversary were planned, a virus took over the world that affected every aspect of our daily lives. As restrictions increased, the pace of time decreased. This slowdown brought an opportunity to reassess, reevaluate and reignite Christopher’s creativity in new directions.
The Merkaba series unfolded as a response to Covid 19 and the extreme conditions surrounding the pandemic. This series of paintings is based on the Flower of Life, a basic sacred geometry shape that symbolizes perfect form, proportion, and harmony. Christopher elaborates:
“During the struggle of the pandemic and its devastation around the world, I wanted these paintings to provide refuge, a place of orderly beauty that myself and others could escape to. The form that represents creation and life is said to be the basic template for everything in existence; using this, I redirected my focus past the stressors caused from the uncertainty we were all experiencing and into a noiseless creative flow state. In retrospect, these works represent the therapy I needed to find my way through what seemed like an alien world of worry, death, and despair. I found solace and hope during the creation of these paintings, which demanded long hours and intense physicality to complete. This creative process allowed me to avoid being consumed by the drama and negativity caused by the pandemic.”
Starting with the Seed of Life shape consisting of 7 overlapping circles that build outward to form a flower-like pattern, hundreds of precisely positioned circles work together with color and texture to convey warmth and positivity.” Christopher continues,
“Painting Merkaba filled my eyes with orderly beauty and my mind with enthusiasm. As an artist, you have to know when creative harmony is achieved, when the song sounds perfect, when the written word feels purposeful, and when the paint expresses your visual vocabulary. I felt this harmony the minute the series first revealed its self to me.”
Merkaba, a 96” x 96” acrylic on honed acrylic painting, was installed in the Aspen gallery in June of 2020, the high point of uncertainty and confusion due to Covid. Within a week, Merkaba found a home in Connecticut. As demanding as the piece was to create, in its completion, it seemed as though it formed effortlessly, which granted a personal satisfaction rarely felt by the artist. With his studio team feeling the same intense fulfillment, they went to work with their heads down and minds focused on creating an entire series of these powerful pieces. As we approach the summer of 2021, Christopher has completed ten paintings that make up the Merkaba series. All based on the same sacred pattern, each piece delivers diverse colorations and sequencing. In Christopher’s words:
“The studio now seems incomplete if at least one of the Merkaba pieces is not in the works. This series has been my creative guardian angel through this dark, confusing time, leading me to name many of them after the archangels.”
The Merkaba Series will be on display this summer at Christopher Martin Galleries in Aspen and Dallas. A series of prints based on the Merkaba pieces will be available for purchase from July to December 2021. A portion of the proceeds will benefit UNICEF’s Covid-19 Vaccination efforts in underserved communities worldwide.
Twenty-six years of an exemplary career, and Martin is not slowing down or lacking creative ideas for new works. If anything, the artist seems to be accelerating, producing more outstanding pieces with a reignited focus for a long and prosperous career.