Martin Ireland
project images:

Martin Ireland

The close proximity of Tooting Bec Lido and the tidal Thames enables Martin to make regular visits providing stimulus and inspiration for fresh ideas. Images are arrived at through a process of editing and composting, an approach that provides a constant challenge. 

‘I construct images in layers, adding and subtracting details at each stage. This approach expresses an ability to change and alter things as the image emerges from the picture surface’.

Martin graduated at Camberwell School of Art in 1989 and has since developed life drawing programmes for architects, advertising agencies and private groups throughout London.

1988    Southbank Open - Royal Festival Hall, Southbank.
1990    ‘Art 90’ - Olympia, London.
1990    ‘Singer & Friedlander  watercolour Open - Mall Galleries.
1991    ‘Thames - A liquid History’  - Circle Galleries, Lyric Theatre, Hammersmith.
1992    ‘Impressions’ - Concourse Galleries, Barbican, London.
1995    ‘Southwark Open’ - South London Gallery.
1998    ‘Not the Royal Academy’ - Llewellyn Alexander Gallery, Waterloo, London.
2000    ‘Century 21’ watercolour open - Bankside Gallery, Southwark, London.
2001    Summer show - Bloxham Galleries, Battersea, London.
2003    Royal Institute of Painters in W’colours - Open, Mall Galleries, London.
2006    ‘Le Dessin- Sept Expressions’ - Alexandre Mottier Galleries, Geneva.
2008    Wandsworth Artists Cooperative - The Old Picture House, Wandsworth, London.
2009    ‘Setting up shop’ WAC - Southside Shopping Centre, Wandsworth, London.
2009    ‘The Art of Sport’ - Orleans House Gallery, Richmond Upon Thames, Surrey.
2010    Wandsworth Artists Cooperative - The Exchange, Putney.
2010    Croydon Arts Society annual exhibition. - Croydon Clocktower, Surrey.
2010    The Bigger Picture Project - Crystal Palace, London.
2010    ‘Kink: The Seduction of Art’ - Koplin Del Rio Gallery, Culver City, Los Angeles.
2011    Landmark Open - Landmark Arts, Teddington, Middlesex.
2011    ‘Richmond Printmakers at 20’ - Orleans House Gallery, Richmond Upon Thames, Surrey.
2011    Riverside Artist Group - Ourense, Spain.
2011    ‘Contrasts’ - Adonis Art Gallery, Earls Court, London.
2011    ‘WAC at Mine’ - Mine Gallery, Carshalton, Surrey.
2011    ‘Christmas at Mine’  - Mine Gallery, Carshalton, Surrey.

1987    ‘Exposed’ - St Judes Gallery, Kensington, London.
1988    ‘One to One’ - Blenheim Gallery, Notting Hill, London.
1996    ‘A Bigger splash’ - Rob Gallery, Amsterdam.
1996    ‘A bend in the river’ - Novotel, Hammersmith, London.
1997    ‘In at the deep end’ - Wolfeson College, Oxford.
1999    ‘Sporting bodies’ - The Contemporary Art Gallery, Belgravia.
2002    ‘Liquid London’  - Wandsworth Arts Festival, Earlsfield, London.
2006    ‘Waterworld’ - Adonis Art Gallery, Earls Court, London.
2008    ‘Back to the river’ - Kirkham gallery, Henley River & Rowing Museum.

1999    ‘Rejecting the Best;    Financial Times
2003    ‘Painters Pools’    Southwest magazine
2005    ‘In the Swim’    Artists & Illustrators magazine

Maritime Museum, Museums of Merseyside , Liverpool.

Producing art is difficult. It takes considerable energy and enthusiasm. If you are creatively active, then it’s healthy. Artists often ‘borrow’ ideas from preceding artists before taking things further. That’s what I’m doing with my swimming series, painting what’s familiar to me, where I’ve been, what I’ve seen and experienced.

A photograph captures movement by freezing movement in a static way, but if you paint, you can make them flow, particularly if you use watercolour or watered down acrylic. A splash takes a split second, but the memory of seeing it again and again builds up in memory. How do I paint movement in water? A swimmer passes through a liquid medium. What is actually happening? The waters surface is like a liquid lens. It has memory and movement, which dances in a repetitive way, making it possible to paint it. I like to express the sensation of being there at the moment. One of the difficulties artists have is depiction. How do you depict the three dimensions of life onto a two dimensional surface?

I’m also fascinated by the narrative images of Hokasai and Kuniyoshi, whose tipped up perspective clarifies the journey across the picture surface. Sometimes I’ll explore different the tidal Thames at different times in a scene and rather than use photographic multi-viewpoint images. I’ll produce multi-fragmented images of the same overall image. This way I try to move beyond the limitations of still photographs, which can seem static. This is why painting from life can bring about something that is so much richer than copying form something that has taken a fraction of a second.

How far can the artist depart from visible reality and still be convincing? A lot of my art is about research. Producing art is a fine balance between exploratory pursuits and saleable items. I have to make a living out of what I produce. In the end what really inspires me is a satisfied customer making a purchase weather in a gallery or from a direct commission.

Martin Ireland on painting 2011