A few weeks ago I had the opportunity to visit Martin Wittfooth in his studio to see how the paintings from his upcoming exhibition Empire were coming along. It was wonderful to see his working space and to get an idea of how his art comes together. Seemingly the ideal artist loft, the high-ceilinged room was flooded with sunlight from huge industrial windows typical of the art-centric Bushwick, Brooklyn neighborhood.
For this exhibition, Martin has created a number of large format paintings – in some cases larger than he’s worked before – to challenge himself and to excite everyone who follows his works. Much closer to life-size, they are meant to be immersive. His concepts have always been powerful, but in this larger scale he’s been able to exercise his metaphorical muscles, so to speak, giving his statements much more impact. His color palette has also lightened and diversified with this series, although his animalistic symbolic language remains familiar as does his brushwork.
This series explores the notion of empire through a contemporary lens, exploring such issues as the Occupy movement and the opium poppy trade in the middle east, as well as more universal notions such as mass-consumption and greed. To quote Martin, “Despite the protests of naysayers of the idea that the world of today is still largely in the grip and command of the empirical model, it is hard to ignore the lingering sense that history is simply repeating itself.”
Check out the shots of Martin’s studio and details of the new works below.
Empire will be opening on September 15th at Corey Helford Gallery.