Carleton University Art Gallery CUAG

Ron Martin, Behind the Scenes: Works of Art on Paper

Curated by Brydon Smith

17 November 2008 – 08 February 2009

Although Ron Martin is best known as a painter, this exhibition comprises 42 works of art on paper, selected from about 700 in CUAG’s collection. They were done in a variety of mediums at all hours of the night and day and range from abstract to figurative.

Martin often worked in series, which meant that he could develop the forms in his geometric abstract work, as well as the subjects in his figurative work, in relation to one another. Among the exhibited drawings that are part of a series are Film Series # 32, (1969), Cosmological Series: Becky Singleton With Her Dreamstick (1986) and Foil Work-June 17, 1996. Titles are also important to Martin, as they provide him with an opportunity to introduce autobiographical references, while written texts in the Pages Series give him a verbal form of expression.

This is the first time that such a wide variety of Martin’s drawings has been exhibited publicly and will provide an opportunity for viewers to see an aspect of his art that has remained behind the scenes. As one looks closely at the dating, which often includes the time of the day or night when the work was finished, it becomes evident that Martin’s creativity went literally around the clock.

Brydon Smith is a former curator of contemporary and modern art and assistant director at the National Gallery of Canada. He previously curated an exhibition of Ron Martin’s paintings for American artist Donald Judd’s Chinati Foundation in Marfa, Texas.

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