Martin Edge

As Days Go By

June 27 - July 11 2020

The title of the exhibition, As Days Go By, subtly references Martin Edge's time in his Strathpine studio. The walls are aglow in a bright orange hue - his favourite colour since childhood - and bedecked in photos and clippings. An impressive collection of antique curios provides quiet company. Commenting on his experience of the recent lockdown he says, 'It sometimes felt like I was stopped forever at a red traffic light and waiting for it to turn green! But my sense of humour is still going strong, painting makes me happy.' Martin's vibrant works resonate with his sense of joie de vivre and optimism.

A self-confessed naïve painter, his art has nevertheless evolved with ever greater finesse in technique and subject complexities over the years. Although referring to photographs he had at some time snapped, much of the imagery is augmented by imagination and the need for compositional resolution. Each work takes many weeks to complete due to the intricate detailing and the multiple layers of acrylic paint that impart the rich depth to his colours.

The current works feature heritage-listed bridges that span the meandering Brisbane River. As an archetypal symbol of transition, a bridge not only crosses physical expanses of water but may also represent a means by which memories of days gone by can be ushered on into hopes for the future.

Martin is keenly aware of the interesting historical background to Indooroopilly's Walter Taylor Bridge. Gold was reputedly found when digging to build its first pylon but kept secret so that construction could continue unhindered. Opened on St. Valentine's Day, 1936, it was the longest suspension bridge in Australia. Additionally, it was the only bridge in the Southern Hemisphere providing residential accommodation in the pylons until 2010. Martin's painting of the Walter Taylor Bridge is notable for his unusual rendition of those once residential pylons. He has shaped them askew to show the facades that would not have been visible from this particular perspective. Devoid of watercraft so as to focus attention on finely detailed aspects of the rural landscape and bridge features, the expanse of the river widens towards the horizon. Fluffy clouds drift overhead and the sun beams down from a central position. 'I placed the sun there just to move it from its usual location in my paintings,' he jests.

Close to GOMA, the Art Deco-styled William Jolly Bridge in Brisbane boasts several graceful arches. Although visually stimulating, Martin's depiction of this iconic structure is somewhat perplexing until one realises its inspiration. Martin is a long-standing ambassador for Autism Queensland and so when Brisbane hosted the 2019 INAS Global Games, the City Council fittingly organised a week-long, nightly projection of his paintings onto the bridge's pylons. The work pertains to Martin's excitement at seeing his art manifested in such a spectacular way. A citycat ferry references the multiple trips he'd taken aboard one to fully absorb the ‘magic' of his projected art. Orange reflections zigzag blue waters under an inky night sky. 'Well, the river had to be blue because otherwise it would be a black painting!' laughs Martin.

Further works depict Sydney's Harbour, Opera House and Domain, each of them animated with Martin's characteristic positivity. Sparkling, colourful vistas, they generate smiles for the days to come. Incidentally, Martin reminds that his signature on the back of his paintings is always accompanied with a little drawing of a balloon and a cheery wish for 'all the best.'

This body of work is Martin's 14th solo exhibition. He has achieved remarkable acclaim since first being represented by APA in 2011. His work appears in state and national institutional collections including: Parliament House Art Collection, Canberra; State Library of Queensland, Brisbane; Artbank Collection; Maitland Regional Art Gallery, NSW; Moreton Bay Regional Gallery, Queensland; St. James College Collection, Brisbane; Westmead Children's Hospital, Sydney; St. John of God Hospital, Perth; Lady Cilento Children's Hospital, Brisbane; Gold Coast University Hospital and Ken Done Private Collection, Sydney.  Martin's paintings have also been hung as finalists in some of Australia's most prestigious art prizes including the Tattersall's Club Landscape Prize, Brisbane Portrait Prize and The Salon des Refuses multiple times.  Tote bags depicting his paintings of Brisbane are sold at GOMA store.

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