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Fair Touching


The current show at Rawson Projects (223 Franklin St.) in Greenpoint is aptly titled as it is, indeed, touching. The ten paintings within the show, all roughly 30 x 17”, when viewed in toto have the feel of portraits or poems, so individual and sensitive are their contents. Equi-spaced along one horizon line in the gallery, these works employ a full range of color and graphic shape, representing the artist and his many interests handsomely.

Over time, a few idiomatic forms have emerged within Martineau’s oeuvre; a repeatedly utilized, right-angled L shape, consistent dimensions within a particular series, and an interest in such subjects as soccer, race-cars, and music. These concerns appear in this show as well, with the contributive addition here of the substrate (muslin, plastic, cotton towel) being yet another key player in the reading of Martineau’s craft. In one example, “P”, a Pirelli logo emerges from a misty, monochromatic field of blue grey. Painted atop an Inter Milan soccer jersey, any hint of the teams trademark blue and black stripes have been clouded over, and what emerges is the subtle play of light across the bas relief of this sculptural support. Nearby hangs the aqua blue and white “Grand Prix – Watkins Glen”. Signature, nesting L-shapes within this piece seem as inspired by Nascar visuals as they are by mid century, European graphic design. The bottom fifth of this work is visually anchored by the exposed foundation, in this case a brightly striped dishtowel. Adjacent, “Channel”, an umber colored piece of stretched plastic hosts three overlapping, linear white triangles. The seeming simplicity of this work is contradicted warmly by subtle nuances of light across and through this Mylar field, which are redolent of honey, amber fragments or chalcedony. Martineau’s interest in music, specifically music packaging, can also be witnessed here. Previous work by this artist includes a few series of limited edition, hand made, 7” record sleeves and one series of handmade record covers for his own label, EAU Records (presumedly taken from the last three letters of his name). My personal memories of shopping for vinyl records as a kid are recalled within this show as a glance about the gallery re-presences the way that the colors and shapes of LP images would flash before my eyes, as my fingers would hurriedly flip through the stacks, hoping for that one precious gem. Of course, this show has ten of them, tracks that are whole unto themselves but inter-related as well. In my minds eye I found myself returning time and again to this space, replaying my experience here; colors, lines and textures pulsing softly, as haunting and familiar as a favorite pop song. (through Oct. 21)

—Enrico Gomez