Bertrand Martin

Bertrand Martin

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Statement : 

Bertrand Martin paints his loved ones, family, friends and people that he has encountered randomly. These seemingly introverted characters appear to be lost in thought and encourage us to seek a deeper understanding of what they are thinking and what we can learn from them. Most of them are captured in a period of thought, reflection, sleep and/or melancholy. They embody the mystery, deepness and sensitivity of the human mind.Bertrand emphasises the facial features enriching the face with a narrative dimension. Looking into the corner, closed lips, etc. ‘Facial emotion is mainly conveyed through the eyes and mouth.’ The framing around the face lends an impression of volume that is further strengthened by a fragmented background, fading away in strokes.

The vivid blue-green background contrasts with the tones of the diaphanous face. The effects of light and a palette blending combinations of bright and radiant give a sense of movement, a dynamic feeling that contributes to the deconstruction of the composition.

‘I experimented with making my backgrounds more random (…) The effacement of the face is a form of brutality, the chaotic outside world is impressed upon the pure and innocent face.’

Bertrand Martin meticulously highlights the visible similarities between his subjects. Despite the mystery implied, his controlled and fashioned stroke is a contemporary figurative style. This permeable dimension eludes a conventional style of portraits. It provides a certain distance from reality, revealing his truth about others beneath subtle embellishments.

His creative process to paint facial features is using a brush technique alternating precise strokes and random blurring lending the face softness, fragility and melancholy. Then he tackles the background, rubbing, scratching, scraping and scrubbing. Motifs form, deform, appear, disappear, merge and fade away on the grain of the canvas.

Oil on canvas, 80x80cms
Oil on canvas, 120x120cms

Bertrand Martin was born in 1975 in Verdun, France. He grew up in southern Burgundy. Since childhood he has been fascinated by sciences and the arts. Under the watchful eyes of his grandfather, a watercolourist, he drew from drawing books and periodicals, teaching himself to control his motions and the mysteries of serendipity. As a student, he keenly practiced music at the conservatoire. In parallel with his preparatory engineering classes, he pursued photography and drawing. Scientific objectivity and the act of creation, the contingencies of reality and wandering imagination perpetually nurture this inner duality that he converts into equilibrium. After his studies, he travelled through Asia. He explored Taiwan, China, Cambodia, Vietnam, Thailand and South Korea, immersing himself in the various cultures and the Chinese language. His great interest in Asia has significantly influenced his work.

His artist life began with watercolour. Filled with passion, he painted day and night, taking advantage of every moment to draw, driven by his desire to make up for lost time. A period of recognition began. Bertrand was invited to take part in several watercolour fairs, and was awarded with prizes, publications and solo shows. From then on, the artist wished to focus fully on painting. He received good advice from Jean-Louis Morelle, one of the fathers of modern watercolour. The artist therefore joints together the blending inherited from his practice of watercolour to the thicker texture of oil paint. Bertrand found his signature style. Today he continues his research to succeed in achieving the very best works of art with always more expressive power. 

Bertrand Martin is represented by Galerie Frederic Got in Paris, Galerie Sakah in Toulouse and the Van Gogh Art Gallery in Madrid.

New Taipei City



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