- MART AIRE – ARGENTINA
‘Al Sur’ (To the South)
Hosted By 19 Karen Contemporary Artspace
August 13th - September 30th, 2022
“People say I’m fortunate to do what I love. I’m not fortunate. It’s a decision I make every day, to be an artist.”
Argentinian artist, Mart Aire, admits he paints the art he feels not the art he likes. He prefers the work of artists that take him back to his graffiti roots. Although as he walks poignantly around the 19Karen stockroom running a curious finger along the rows of paintings he meets along the way, Mart grins broadly and confesses that it is not visual art that inspires him at all. “I like to watch theatre” he admits, “That’s what inspires me. And, talking to people I meet by chance. The characters. Life.” It occurs to me how obvious this is, that this artist, whose whimsical yet confident work hinges on both the vitality and significance of the characters within it, would be motivated by story and the serendipitous encounters he has with other humans.
His early shift from graffiti to urban mural work was motivated by Mart’s initial dalliances with yoga and contemporary dance, a relationship that he explains created awareness of the limitations of graffiti as an artform and language. “Only graffiti writers knew what I was saying by using a certain line. Graffiti is a closed movement. Murals are for everybody. A universal language.”
What Mart’s studio collectors keep coming back for, has less to do with what he masterfully paints and more to do with where he inexplicably takes you. He creates realms and his paintings are portals into them, luring you into such a highly imaginative, highly emotive experience that his subjects almost stroll off the canvas; like theatre.
This is no more evident than in his early mural work featuring his “oversized, flat-tyred bicycles” being ridden by whimsical characters that seem to pedal straight onto the sidewalk. Having been received with such acclaim, I asked Mart how his renowned bicycle murals came to be. “In 2010 I was commissioned to work on a building that was being transformed into a Cultural Centre in Buenos Ares. It was a very old official building that was an orphanage over a century ago. As I looked at the building and through its rounded, arched windows, I imagined the lives of these children. I was reminded of my own childhood and how I would ride around everywhere on my bicycle. I wanted to mark the building with the life that these children were entitled to.”
Like his mural work, Mart’s current studio work is ever evolving. The artist admits he enjoys pushing his creative growth edge. “Almost my entire life, I have been painting. Over that time, I have changed of course, and I need to represent that in my work.” This desire to expand his creative reality has seen him play with size, composition, and colour naturally, but it’s his commitment, his decision to be an artist, that has seen this tenacity extend to experiment with other sensory elements like collage, sculpture, woodwork, the two dimensional and the three dimensional. For his upcoming show at the gallery Mart intends to widen this scope yet again, working with acrylic sculpture for the first time to prove to no-one but himself, just how far his creative edge can be pushed.
“I deliver the art that is in me to deliver, understanding that while I might be inspired by someone else’s art, that same someone might be inspired by mine. It is a balance. Harmony.”
Aptly titled “Al Sur -To the South”, Mart Aire’s first solo exhibition in Australia chronicles the artists creative affinity with his native South America and our very own land down under.
Time: 5pm – 7 pm
When: Saturday, 13th of August
Where: 19 Karen Contemporary Artspace, 19 Karen Avenue, Mermaid Beach QLD 4218
Parking: Pacific Square (2 Hours Free Parking)
RSVP for ‘Al Sur’ (To the South)