James Martin’s artwork is as loquacious as the artist himself. Working primarily with gouache on brown paper, and sometimes additions such as ink, graphite, charcoal, or collage, Martin’s figurative scenes are at first glance humorous, with a myriad of characters from parrots, fish, and monkeys to Shakespeare, Picasso, mermaids, and pilots. A closer read reveals how ingenious the artist is, often utilizing the most subtle visual word play, and veering headlong into topics that without his deft hand may feel weighty. Martin’s free-flowing style of painting sees him depict a never-ending stream of characters, never shying away from ideas or issues that may be at the corners of our collective psyche.
Martin holds a BA from the University of Washington, Seattle, and has been showing his work at Foster/White Gallery for nearly two decades. He has also shown his work across the Northwest, including the Museum of Northwest Art, La Conner, WA, Seattle Art Museum, Seattle, WA, Henry Art Gallery, Seattle, WA, and at the Bellevue Art Museum. His paintings have been shown alongside other Northwest Artists such as Morris Graves, Kenneth Callahan, and Mark Tobey, of whom Martin was a contemporary. James Martin is also the subject of Sheila Farr’s 2001 monograph, “James Martin: Art Rustler at the Rivoli.” His work is in collections such as that of Tacoma Art Museum, Tacoma, WA, the Museum of Northwest Art, La Conner, WA, and the University of Washington, Seattle, WA.