30 May 2017

Hynek Martinec: The Birth of the Tragedies: Parafin

I saw this exhibition and started writing this review a few months ago, but it got curtailed as I had one of those all-encompassing deadlines this summer. However, I'd wished I'd had the time to go back and spend more time with these paintings. I have found myself thinking about them and telling a few people about them in conversations. One painting in particular has stayed with me. I still think this is the painting of our time.

Just off Oxford Street, in a fairly small commercial gallery, is hanging what must be the most extraordinary, most exceptional and significant painting made recently.

The Boat on the Moon has a large amount of black, but it is not just plain black - it is a shadowy dark brown-black which keeps the viewer peering in - it is an expert black. The figure is landscape of moon, body, candle-lit and yet digitised. A pre-natal scan is as disembodied as the dysmorphic blob of flesh beneath. It is revealed somehow as though an early brass telescope, and digital photorealism, all at the same time. I'm trying to use words to describe or evoke what is a delightfully complex and paradoxical experience. As a viewer, I love somewhat being left in mystery, and looking at a thing that will forever change and reveal more layers of meaning and associations.

The Boat on the Moon Hynek Martinec 2017

Hynek Martinec paints with the breathtaking skill of the Old Masters, but he paints now, and of now. We've seem painters who blend old and new, but few who paint as if he were a time traveller from a much more Baroque time, exploring our new world.

Much could be appreciated and written about the other paintings in this exhibition - extraordinary, assured, profound. This is painting for the long term.

The Boat on the Moon Hynek Martinec 2017 installation Parafin London

Portrait of Cornelis van de Geest Hynek Martinec 2016

Hynek Martinec: The Birth of the Tragedies

5th October 2017

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