Gene Paul Martin

Filipino contemporary artist Gene Paul Martin’s visually complex paintings are rife with portals, gateways for disparate eras, styles, genres, or content to enter freely as dense imagery in his paintings. Spiritual Thug Lyf at Silverlens is his latest solo exhibition of paintings.

Martin is an absorber of everything he is attracted to. Like a deejay, he samples from various actual and imaginary sources, remixing them on canvas as elements of something new. He does so indiscriminately, the sources don’t matter. As he explains, “I put whatever in my painting regardless of content...I don’t care what happens to these elements once put together...Their status and context disappears,” he says.

Filipino artist, curator, and gallerist Arvin Flores explains Martin’s process as ingrained in the complex identity of an artist, one who is the “harbinger of new realities as he destroys conventional interpretation...stripping raw the viewer’s preconceived notions of what painting is, or could be.” This is, in other words, what Martin does when creates what he calls his hybrids, stitching and layering together elements onto a canvas.

Portraits, landscapes, and still lifes retain some clues but are clearly abominable, trippy, and goofy even crude Mad Magazine versions of those genres. For Martin, these transformations are just part of figuring out visual problems. And the primary problem seems to be achieving a state of overdrive until the desire for a multilayered surface is sated. Martin searches anywhere for answers, especially instances and moments throughout and outside of art history. Fondly calls his works “time collages” as he freely steals solutions from the easiest places to look, the vast visual lexicon of art, as well as other worlds. He gives the impression that the sources or portals for all the many pieces that can be layered and merged into mutated forms are inexhaustible and can be just about anywhere.

Working from the heart of Cubao, Quezon City in the Philippines, Gene Paul Martin has had several solo exhibitions in well-known galleries in and out of the country. These venues include the Cultural Center of the Philippines, Silverlens, West GalleryArt Informal, Secret Fresh, Art Fair Philippines, and Richard Koh Fine Art. Martin also curates and organizes exhibitions with Sampaguita Projects, an independent creative platform he founded. Spiritual Thug Lyf runs from January 9 to February 6, 2021.