Above: Oriental Lilies, 2 years, 2017
On view now thru May 2024
Martin Weinstein’s first direct and profound inspiration was the work of J. M. W. Turner, which he saw with his father at the British Museum in London. As a boy, Weinstein played with Toy Theaters that he himself made, complete with wings and backdrops to effectively create depth by suggesting enhanced perspective. This layering of information would, later in life, bring him to optimize the visual effects of his art today by utilizing various overlapping layers of clear acrylic sheets to express changes in space and time. This approach also came in part from the reading of books by the physicist Julian Barbour who once said, “Time is what happens when nothing else does,” suggesting that time is an abstraction.
The landscape as a sole and specific subject matter has been a source of inspiration since the 1500s. With so many variations of landscape painting created over several hundred years there remain fewer and fewer stones left to overturn. What Martin Weinstein has done is quite genius. By breaking his compositions down to three or four floating layers of painted elements, surfaces that can span days, months and even years, he has brought in a very specific sense of time.
Weinstein works all but the most frigid winter days on site and outdoors. When painting, he might occasionally and subtly distort what he sees by bending a horizon line or tilting an axis here and there. However, for the most part, he paints what he sees in the land. By overlapping layers of clear, frosted acrylic to paint upon, Weinstein can stretch the visual elements not just in time but in space, so a work will read differently in its level of abstraction from angle to angle and moment to moment. These shifting visual transitions are key to understanding the artist’s work. Each edge of a flower petal, every cluster or windswept leaf and each ray of sunlight can be elements that both blend and stand apart as nature observed travels through the air like a refreshing breeze or a sudden apparition. In a way, this is more of how we actually see the world around us, how we focus and process information and how we judge perspective in movement from detail to detail and site to site.