“These pieces speak to me every time I look at them, they are fresh and alive and vital, fueled by deep sources of history and culture placed in a unique concept of space and design and presented as a compression of time and narrative, imagery and startling beauty. Some of them feel like complete motion pictures in a single frame". Film Director Brian DePalma, Paris 2012
Jared Martin’s mixed media photo encaustics come from the most personal of experiences.
Martin has had a long and successful career as an actor, appearing in Torch Song Trilogy with Harvey Fierstein and in Hamlet with Martin Sheen on Broadway. He was in the Hollywood blockbuster Westworld and is perhaps best known as Dusty Farlow in the pop culture TV phenomenon Dallas. He has also directed over 30 films himself.
While in China working on a film project he began recording the events of his own life. In Beijing he met and married Chinese classical dancer Yu Wei. This marriage, as well as the ‘marriage’ of East and West, film and fine art (his father was renowned New Yorker cover artist Charles E. Martin) has come to define and inform his ‘second act’ as an artist, exemplified in his beautiful photo-encaustics.
The seeds of a boyhood fascination with maps and dioramas has grown into the use of photography (stilled images of actual life) and then filmmaking (images in process – life as it can be) as delivery systems for layers of visual information enhanced by text and symbols to create a distinctive, still evolving style.
Using the eye of a director and film editor, Martin tells stories of China that are as mysterious as they are immediate. He uses digital filters to edit imagery he has accumulated from his trips. His access to rural villages and strata of Chinese life is unique to someone who married a Chinese national ballet dancer raised in the Cultural Revolution. This ‘directed and edited’ imagery is then transmuted and infused by a man with perspective informed by the seemingly opposite worlds of uber-Western pop culture (epitomized by Hollywood) and by rural and urban China.
This dialogue between East/West, rural and technological is further “actualized” in Martin’s painstaking process use cutting edge photo-shop techniques to “paint” landscapes and portraits that recall 19th century and 18th century Western Landscape genre painting.
“All photographs are momento mori. To take a photograph is to participate in another person’s mortality, vulnerability, and mutability. Precisely by slicing out this moment and freezing it, all photographs testify to time’s relentless melt.” – Susan Sontag, On Photography.
Encaustic and photography have long been great partners; they freeze the moment, suspend memory in the translucent materiality of wax, memory made tangible. Martin’s use of the encaustic process is an inspired bridge for this crucial relationship between the medium of photography, film and painting, a singular expressive point of view of cultures, both Eastern and Western, making our commonalties and our differences, universal and visible.
Michael David, Atlanta, 2012