British artist, Martin Webb, first laid eyes upon the American West when he was awarded a Fulbright teaching exchange that brought him to the San Francisco East Bay in 1999-2000. He and his wife, Liz, immediately fell in love with the open space, the intimate connection to nature, the relaxed, artistic atmosphere, and in 2000 immigrated from their home in the U.K. to Berkeley, where he accepted a position in commercial design. Eventually he was able to dedicate himself fully to his career and has since earned a reputation as a brilliant painter, sensitive to his surrounding environment – both manmade and nature – the immigrant experience, “permanence and impermanence”.
My work comes from thoughts about people, places, and home; about age, time, and timelessness, permanence and impermanence; about movement, migration, and belonging. People and places are depicted in images and objects that combine simple representations, layered abstractions, and plain-spoken materials. – Martin Webb
His technique is complex, incorporating a multitude of industrial materials from metal objects to cement, yet the imagery is misleadingly simple, almost “childish” (his word); belying a more sophisticated, allegorical concept inspired by an eclectic melange of influences from Arshile Gorky or Jacob Lawrence to the songs of Woody Guthrie. In his paintings, we see repeated “cut-out” images of houses, people, trees, dogs, that form the simple iconography for Home, Humanity, Nature, and the Wild. Layers of abstract elements, and frequently text, subtly hidden under the surface, resonate with the figures compelling sense of mystery or even alienation in their relationship with the surroundings. His palette is simple, often subdued, underscoring a timeless sense of memory, lost and found.
The work… addresses personal issues of identity and assimilation and more general dynamics of permanence versus impermanence, nature versus human progress, and transformation versus stability. – James Scarborough / Huffington Post, June 2013
Mr. Webb has also found great success as a highly acclaimed artist with numerous public commissions visible throughout the Bay Area, from Palo Alto to Napa. Frederick Holmes and Company – Gallery of Modern & Contemporary Art is proud to be the exclusive Northwest gallery representative of Martin Webb.