The Art of Fred Martin
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About my work, 1957-58
Harrison Street and painting on the Art Bulletin...

Unless otherwise noted, all paintings are distemper, texture and watercolor on paper,
various sizes around 9 x 12 inches.

Images marked
** are described in the catalog for my 2003 Retrospective at the Oakland Museum of California. 
Click the
** to go to the description.

Scroll down for the paintings, click the thumbnail for a larger view.


From the "Art Bulletin Group"--
It began with the "texture" and no money for paint or paper.  For paint I used "distemper"--the medieval name for mixing hide glue with powdered pigment.  In the 1950's, you could still get the glue (horse hoofs glue, I think it really was, a darker, coarser form of the rabbit skin glue still available in a few traditional art supply stores) at the house paint store, and the dry pigments also.  Earth tones were the cheapest--50 cents a pound in a paper bag for most--so I used those.  And for paper, there was the my membership in the College Art Association (maybe I could get a college job someday) and the resulting Art Bulletin.  And for subject, well, there was the frenzy of lust in the old rooms at the top of our Harrison Street house, and my search for redemption from it embodied in these works... "In the morning and the noon will I hunger...for I am compounded of early autumn dust."  Maybe Hermes would save me, maybe Fortuna promised success.

The Survivors of
"The Art Bulletin Group"


** And in the morning and the noon will I hunger while in the night I go insatiate”


“And I will last from age to age
for I am the poison in the blood
of all who lust.”

"But last of all I will live
as a hunger in..."

"I am compounded
of early autumn dust."

"Hermes and Fortuna"


See text to right...

"Dear sir: I address you as one human being to another, and request that you hear my call.  My voice is from the realm of spirit, from a land of sun and moon and the infinite fountain at the source.  It calls to you because of the jeopardy of this land, its imminent destruction (caught always between dissolving now and and birthing eternity).  It calls to you as perhaps the last soul on this side to whom it can speak"

And there was in the background a fountain in fading sepia, and at the bottom my seal, pale red ink initials embedded in wall-fix texture surrounded by a blue circle.


See text to right...
"I wait tensely for the autumnal gift. Out in the early evening here the fountains fall clear into their marble basins, and as the golden singing bird flies restlessly from branch to branch, I seek the fruit of life, I search the golden apple of love which nestles among the leaves in the valley of Hesperus.

And there was at the center bottom the fountain--the background is scattered with the blue of its spray--at the center of the crossroads in the forest of Hesperus.



"and from age to age
it remains yet also
in the immortal forest
of  the Hesperus"



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Click here for an extended text about the work on this page